mag created by mums for mums
million mums massive diďŹ€erence
how to be
happy here and now
the start of million mums
thanks to photographer Mike Owen and art director Neil Cunningham
Welcome to this first ever online edition of mummomag, created entirely by mums for mums to celebrate Mothers’ Day and the launch of a very exciting campaign ‘million mums’ ... As mums, we are privileged to experience the rollercoaster ride of motherhood. The ‘ups’, the ‘downs’ and the ‘in betweens’. The love, the laughter, the tears and the shouting. Those precious moments of pure joy, those gut-wrenching moments of terror, those ‚why me?‛ moments of despair ... and those frequent ‚banging your head against a brick wall‛ feelings of frustration! And, of course, the kisses and cuddles and snuggles and hugs that make your heart almost burst with happiness. In all this, we know, deep down, that motherhood is the most amazing journey of our lives. In a recent Mummo survey, 95.8% of mums who responded to the question “Are you glad you had children?” answered with a resounding ‚yes‛! Which makes it all the more tragic that many women have their experience of motherhood cut needlessly short. Did you know that pregnancy and childbirth are the biggest killers of young women of reproductive age in the world today? No? Neither did I until I discovered the White Ribbon Alliance and found out about the shocking statistics on maternal mortality. Having spent far too much of the last five years moaning about the everyday challenges of motherhood, I suddenly got a great big kick up the backside! How dare I complain about something I was so lucky to be doing? I decided to see how I could help ... and the result is ‘Million Mums’, a joint initiative between the White Ribbon Alliance and Mummo. It’s all about harnessing the enormous power that we possess, as mums, if we act together. Collectively, I believe we can change the world. And it doesn’t take much. Two minutes and a couple of quid ... that’s all. A million small gestures add up to a gigantic impact. Please turn to page 62 to find out more and get involved. This first ever mummomag is concrete proof of what we as mums can achieve, individually and collaboratively. It’s taken just a couple of weeks from having the idea to making it happen. Every single bit of the magazine has come from a mum, and between us we have created something that, hopefully, will be enjoyed by lots and lots of other mums. In it, you’ll find examples of the huge variety of of skills, talents, knowledge and expertise that we have. From the mum who adopted three children from the other side of the world ... to the mum who is gearing up to leave her husband, kids and business (temporarily!) to go on the trip of a lifetime. From the mumpreneurs ... to the mummies who blog. From journalist mums to designer mums. From fit mums to bendy mums to imperfectly natural mums. From us to you, with love.
Happy Mothers’ Day! © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
in this mummomag ... mind and body happy here and now lovely fuzz flower power a little bit of ‘me time’ the big chill who needs pills? fresh air fitness
Jo Rheam, Mummo Sue Llewellyn, Many Hands Media Amy Lydall, Bach Flower Registered Practitioner More Than Just A Mother, mummy blogger Marie-Laure Desire, Fulham Yogashala Janey Lee Grace, Imperfectly Natural Kimberly Rothman, Fit Camp
5 7 10 12 14 16 19
Suri Poulos, Mind Lab Europe Potty Mummy, mummy blogger Jodie Hampshire, Aunty Ollie Lisa Warner, Fink Cards Jill McDonald, Jill McDonald Design Sue Atkins, Positive Parents More Than Just A Mother, mummy blogger Homeofficemum, mummy blogger Tanith Carey, journalist and author
22 24 25 29 31 32 34 35 36
Anna Gibson and Philippa Gogarty, Micro Scooters Ltd A Modern Mother, mummy blogger Karen Wattleworth, Zoobookoo Helen Colley, Farmhouse Fare Carolyn Gavin, Ecojot
38 41 42 46 50
Wendy Shand, Tots to Travel Sticky Fingers, mummy blogger Hazel Fernandes, Tea-Time-Tarts Designs Jo Rheam, Mummo
52 55 58 61
family and home the games we play do as I say, not as I do extreme motherhood happy meals a reminder selfish?? … or essential? that’s not my mummy small talk a mother’s love
career and business the Micro Scooter mums I had this great idea … ten things you need to know yum yum yum arty mum
friends and fun wish you weren’t here a life in photographs teatime tarts mums join together
community and contribution million mums, massive difference
Mummo and the White Ribbon Alliance
Gemma Johnson, Babeecard NixdMinx, mummy blogger
Melissa Talago, Peekaboo Communications
prosperity money saving tips party like it’s £19.99
living your dreams more to life than laundry
happy here and now ...
There’s so much pressure for perfection these days that, if you’re not careful, you can end up putting happiness on hold < waiting for < ??? © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
There are days when perhaps it’s easier to be happy. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the kids are running around outside playing nicely for a change < so of course the house feels a bit bigger and stays a lot tidier! Your hair’s looking good < and your partner noticed. Your work’s going well < and your boss noticed. Suddenly you’ve got bags of energy and enthusiasm for life! Then there are the other days. Those days. You know the ones! The days when everything that can go wrong does go wrong (or so it seems). When you roll
happy here and now
your eyes at another mum (usually as your child has their umpteenth full-on screaming-at-the-top-of-theirvoices-and-thrashing-on-the-floor tantrum) and say ‚Don’t worry, I’m just having one of those days!‛ It’s then, I think, that the happiness challenge really kicks in. It’s so tempting to moan and groan and think ‚I’ll be happy when <‛ or ‚I’d be happier if <‛ (delete as appropriate) the kids start behaving my husband gets home on time I can fit back into my size 12 jeans we’ve moved to the seaside Working with the White Ribbon Alliance on the Million Mums campaign has given me a huge insight into how lucky I am. Okay, so I haven’t turned out to be the natural-born earth mother I somehow expected to be, but at least I am a mother < and hopefully a good enough one. In the grand scheme of things, and particularly compared to many women in other parts of the world, my grumbles are very minor ones. So my personal quest (apart from finding a way to move to the seaside!) is to work out how to be happier in the here and now. I’ve spent a lot of my working life helping people to set goals and move towards them, and I think goals can be really powerful in motivating you to make the changes you want in your life. But, as I’ve got older, I’ve come to the conclusion that if we spend too much time aspiring to be / do / have something else, we’re in danger of not spending enough time really living. Right here. Right now. There’s a very loose underlying theme to this magazine, and it’s exactly that. How to appreciate who we already are and what we’ve already got. How to stop chasing perfection and start loving the imperfections of life. How to be happy here and now. In the words of Babatunde Olatunji (a Nigerian drummer, educator and social activist):
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present. Jo Rheam, Founder of Mummo
children have an amazing capacity to live in the moment
lovely fuzz Sue Llewellyn shares a few tips on how to squeeze big joy out of small things ... It’s hard to believe as I look up at my 22-year-old son (all 6’6‛ of him) but I’ll never forget when he was just two days old and I was staring at him in utter amazement. My eye was caught by the outline of his tiny little head resting peacefully against the white sheet, silhouetted by a soft cloud of wispy hair. Naturally I burst into tears. A passing midwife came over and asked if I was ok. ‚Lovely fuzz,‛ I spluttered, ‚he’s got such lovely fuzz.‛ She smiled knowingly as I cried with joy. I was quite simply overwhelmed at how something so © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
small and so simple could make me so happy. And it’s a lesson in life that I’ve never forgotten. So what is happiness and how, when we’ve all got such busy lives and 101 things to worry about, can we take steps to be happier? As mums, we’ve rarely got time to do anything for ourselves, let alone take time out to stop and think. But, as far as I’m concerned, it’s really important to take a moment to check in with yourself. Try pressing the ‘pause button’. Simply stop, stand and stare. Just ‘be’. Right here, right now. What can you hear? What can you see? How do you feel?
Notice the small things and you’ll see the big picture. We seem to forget that we are human be-ings and not human do-ings. In the rush of ‘so much to do and so little time to do it’ we seem to forget to enjoy life now
happy here and now
and to be happy. But why wait to be happy? Why not simply stop being such a ‘busy body’ and start living and being happy now? Happiness expert Robert Holden suggests that we all do a ‘busyness audit’ where we think of three ways to be less busy and more fulfilled. So, in my case, what’s the problem if I haven’t done the ironing that day or if there are a few stray socks lying around or if I am not a perfectly attired Domestic Goddess cooing over my cupcakes? There isn’t a problem. It’s just a question of attitude. There’s no such thing as a Perfect Mother so in my view we shouldn’t even try to be one. Simply be the best you can and look at what you have done each day and not at what you haven’t. It took me years of feeling like chewed string to realise that I wasn’t, nor ever could be, Superwoman. By trying to be all things to all people it was all go all the time < and I was burning myself out. Now I appreciate that I am what I am, my kids still love me and I’m happy.
Sometimes I look at people who are exhausting themselves, just as I did, and I see a parallel with the salmon fighting its way upstream only to spawn and die. Where’s the fun in that?
These days I prefer to go with the flow and not against it. I’ve finally learnt to accept the things I can’t change, change the things I can < and hopefully still have enough marbles left to know the difference. I believe it’s all a question of attitude. Think happy, act happy and you will be happy. Just try it. Try smiling right now and I’ll bet you feel better. Go on; let a great big smile spread across your face. See what I mean? Now think of a baby giggling as you blow a raspberry on its tummy or tickle its toes or simply marvel at the fact that he or she has found something inexplicably hysterical. It’s a sound of the purest joy and it makes my soul sing whenever I hear it. In a noisy world full of man-made machines, it’s the natural sounds that soothe and lift the spirits. Gently running water, a light breeze softly whispering through the grass or the sheer operatic wonder of the dawn chorus. Hundreds of little birds joyfully tweeting and apparently so delighted by the start of a new day. It sure beats the sort of ‘Tweeting’ and ‘Twittering’ that seems to occupy us humans. Go for a walk on a beautiful Spring day; close your eyes, take a deep breath and just listen. Can you hear what I mean? Music is renowned for lifting the spirits and I just can’t resist joining in and singing along - much to the horror of my kids < but at least it makes them laugh. In addition to his All Request Fridays where listeners can pick their all-time favourite tracks, Chris Evans has another regular slot on his Radio 2 Drive Time show where he gets kids to ring in and tell everyone about something they did for the first time that day. The pride in their little voices over their simple achievement is a joy. There’s a lot to be said for thinking as a child and not taking life too seriously; being curious about the world around you and having fun. My daughter and I have a ridiculously funny game – or at least we think so – where we do ‘canned laughter’, you know that awful fake laughing from a studio audience. We take it in turns to do a terrible
fake laugh and then it’s a matter of seconds before we’re both laughing our heads off for real. Laughter really is the best medicine. Making others happy and being happy together is not only a great gift but also one of the true secrets of being happy. I believe that we should all appreciate what we have right here right now. In fact, research shows that one of the best ways to feel happier is to develop an ‘attitude of gratitude’. Just sit down and make a list of everything you have to be thankful for. I would bet, despite the worries of the current economic climate, that the results will surprise you. The more you recognise and appreciate what you have right now, the better you’ll feel. It’s a lesson that all of us mums would do well to remember as we frantically juggle kids, careers and life in general. As we stare into the washing machine and puzzle over the mystery of the single missing sock, let’s stop for a second and think.
It’s the little things in life that make us happy; little things like lovely fuzz and laughter!
6 ways to be (even) happier •
Be thankful Make a list of everything you have to be grateful for.
Be friendly Smile at, and say a kind word to, everyone you meet today .
Be kind - unwind Take three long, deep breaths and pause to reconnect with your self. Relax and go with the flow.
Be mindful Weed out unhelpful thoughts and replant helpful ones. Pay attention to life.
Be yourself Stick to your strengths and ask for help with your weaknesses.
Just be Spend time with people you love and laugh together.
Sue Llewellyn is a former BBC journalist and producer, now a media consultant running her own business, Many Hands Media (www.manyhandsmedia.co.uk). She also works as a healer and loves cooking and teaching her children to cook. Result: her second son is apparently a genius in the kitchen! Five words to describe me: optimistic, creative, energetic, enthusiastic, spiritual … oh, and my other half has just said “irrepressible” so can I have six?! My children: I'm lucky, lucky, lucky to have three absolutely gorgeous 'children' Charlie (22), Otto (19) and Rosie (18) - who, for some unknown reason, call me Moon. I love them to bits. A family who laughs together, stays together! Motto in life: something along the lines of „Don‟t worry, be happy‟! © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
mummo mind and body
Forget drugs, try the healing powers of plants ... The Bach Original Flower Remedies were developed by a well-respected homeopath, Dr Edward Bach, in the 1930s. He believed, as many doctors do today, that attitude of mind plays a vital role in maintaining health and recovering from illness. The 38 individual remedies are a simple and effective system to help promote emotional wellbeing. They are very easy to use and safe for the whole family. Simply place two drops of your chosen remedy / remedies in a glass of water, tea, coffee or juice and sip at intervals. Repeat a minimum of four times a day. Bach flower remedies can also be dropped into bath water, applied to pressure points or added to food. Here are some Bach Original Flower Remedies that can help with common emotional states:
Best for calming Rescue Remedy is an emergency combination that quickly restores inner calm, control and focus, helping you to manage your daily stress. Itâ€™s available in a variety of convenient and easy-to-use formats including a spray, a dropper and even pastilles to suck. Also try: Mimulus, if you need to feel calm about a specific forthcoming event such as a visit to the dentist < or a trip to the supermarket with the kids!
Best for low mood Mustard helps to lift the spirit so that you can feel happy, and is useful when you donâ€™t have any particular explanation for feeling down. Also try: Gentian, if you are down because you have recently experienced a setback.
Best for grief Star of Bethlehem is a comforting remedy which helps with the sense of emptiness and loss that can occur when a loved one dies. It is effective for treating the after-effects of any kind of shock, such as unexpected bad news or witnessing an accident. Also try: Walnut, to help you with the changes you are experiencing.
Best for energy Olive helps to restore feelings of strength when you are tired out after making an effort, and is helpful for both physical and mental exhaustion. Also try: Hornbeam, if you are feeling tired before you have even made the effort and require some motivation.
1 mummomag mummomag
Best for insecurity
Best for nerves
Mimulus helps you to let go of self-doubt and to create feelings of safety and trust. It can also be helpful for phobias. Also try: Crab Apple, if your insecurity manifests itself through a focus on an aspect of your appearance.
Larch helps you to believe in yourself and your abilities, allowing you perform to your maximum. It encourages you to take risks and get more out of life. Also try: Rescue Remedy, to calm you down on the day.
Best for concentration
Best for guilt
Clematis can help you to focus on the task at hand rather than daydreaming about the future. It’s useful for the fuzzy, light-headed feelings that often accompany emergency situations. Also try: Honeysuckle, if you are finding it hard to concentrate on the present because your mind is preoccupied with past events.
Pine eases the conscience and allows you to move on without feelings of self-reproach. It helps you to put mistakes into perspective. Also try: Centaury, if you can’t say ‘no’ to people because of the guilt you feel.
Best for anger Vervain is one of many remedies that can help you to deal with anger, particularly if it’s due to a feeling of injustice or unfair treatment. Vervain doesn’t lower your enthusiasm, it just protects you from going too far and crashing or burning out due to exhaustion. Also try: Impatiens, if your anger is due to impatience.
Best for jealousy Holly helps you to overcome feelings of hate and jealousy and promotes feelings of generosity towards others. In addition, it can be useful in controlling feelings of suspicion. Also try: Chicory, if your jealousy is based on selfishness due to your lack of personal fulfilment.
Best for fear Mimulus helps you overcome fears of known things such as flying, spiders or the dark. It can also be beneficial for people who are generally shy and timid. Also try: Aspen, if your fear has no identifiable origin.
Best for impatience Impatiens helps us to be less hasty and more relaxed and patient with others. It can also be helpful if you find it difficult to work in a team. Also try: Water Violet, if your desire to work alone leads to loneliness. These are just a few of the remedies available - there are 38 in total. If you visit www.bachremedies.co.uk, you can use the Remedy Chooser to help you find the right remedy for your own situation. So, if you’re struggling to manage your emotions (and, let’s face it, which mum doesn’t from time to time?!), it might be worth considering a few drops of distilled flower essence before you do anything more drastic!
Bach Original Flower Remedies retail at £5.95 for 20ml and are available from Holland & Barrett, Boots and most independent chemist and health food stores. For more information visit www.bachremedies.co.uk.
Amy Lydall is a mum and Registered Bach Foundation Practitioner with her own practice in Sutton, Surrey. Five words to describe me: approachable, smiley, confident, caring Vices: cheese and chick flicks! Motto in life: If you are going to do something then do it properly Favourite outfit: sloppy jeans and trainers Favourite film: „City of Angels‟
© Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
mind and body
Twelve months later and I don’t recognise the woman in the mirror. The bags under my eyes are more Primark than Prada, and my ‘cleanse, tone, moisturise’ routine has been replaced with a hasty scrub before bed with a Pampers wet-wipe. Several months ago I attempted a visit to the hairdresser with the triple buggy in tow. My tea was barely touched when a chorus of objections was raised from within the pram, shortly followed by a similar chorus from the bluerinse brigade reading TV Quick under the dryers. Meanwhile the toddler was sitting quietly beneath the reception desk, smearing the contents of a tub of purloined hair-gel across the carpet. I left the salon with a half-cut fringe and the threat of a baby ASBO.
a little bit of me time More Than Just A Mother muses on the meaning of Mothers’ Day ... Blog post - 8th March 2009
Last Mothers’ Day I was in hospital, wincing every time I sat down and smiling weakly at the garagebought card produced by my husband on behalf of my newborn twins and their sixteen-month old brother. I thought back to Mothers’ Days of old, when my sisters and I would proudly present our mother with breakfast in bed, flowers and chocolates, and wait on her hand and foot till we went to bed. In the run-up to the big event, gifts and cards were lovingly crafted at school, Brownies, and in our bedrooms with ‘DON’T COME IN!’ posted on the door. Back in my hospital room, one of the babies began squeaking for a feed. I rolled gingerly over and the ‘Mum, you’re the greatest!’ card fluttered to the floor and slipped under the bed. Mother’s Day was over.
Pre-baby I was a regular in the gym, pounding the treadmill with my headphones tuned to MTV, and priding myself on my toned tummy. Now the only circuits I do are between tea shops and coffee mornings, pushing the buggy in tune to whichever CBeebies theme is lodged in my head that particular day. My erstwhile favourite body part is zipped into submission in the sort of high-waisted jeans favoured only by The Golden Girls and Simon Cowell, and the only exercises I do are sporadic pelvic floors, when I’m prompted to do so by a risky cough. I used to fantasise about George Clooney, a hot tub and a pot of chocolate mousse (not necessarily in that order, or indeed separately). Now I dream of being alone; totally alone with the sound of silence floating over me like a duvet. Even as I write this, the pygmies are swarming round my feet, their game of Lego towers abandoned in favour of climbing up Mummy’s legs and pressing random keys on the laptop. They often manage to change the settings on the computer, leaving me with keystrokes in Arabic, or a screen set at right angles. Over the months my trio has learned to work together to press ‘control alt delete’ so many times the laptop now rivals me for inertia. It would seem that almost 94% of mothers would like to have more time to pamper themselves (www.mamababybliss.com). I’m guessing the other six percent didn’t have time to answer; they were too busy trying to escape their own children so they could have a wee without curious onlookers. With three children and a buggy the size of a baby elephant, going to the loo in public places is a logistical nightmare, and my under-used pelvic floor is once again put under strain till we get home.
94% of mothers would like more time to pamper themselves (whatever happened to the other 6%?!) source: mamababybliss.com
Caught short one day I headed for Starbucks’ disabled loo, the Mecca for mums with double buggies, and wedged the buggy in the corner as I sank back in relief onto the seat. To my horror, the toddler, on parole from his own seat, made straight for the door and the ‘easy to use’ disabled lock.. Acres of freshly mopped tiles stretched between the door, my two year-old’s hand on the lock, and me; legs akimbo, desperately trying to hurry through the gallons of wee I had been holding in round the shops. The toddler looked back at me with an impish gleam in his eye, and turned the lock. With an effort worthy of an Olympic teammember I squeezed my poor beleagured nethers and launched myself at the opening gap, knickers round my ankles, just catching side of a startled couple with a tray of lattes and muffins before I crashed against the door, slamming it shut.. I once read an article about new mums recreating the ‘spa experience’ in the comfort of their own home. To my mind there is nothing remotely ‘comfortable’ about a house strewn with laundry, toys and rancid muslins, but each to their own. The article listed everyday items the reader could use to create their home spa without expensive beauty creams and potions; avocado, yoghurt, lavender bath oil, relaxing music playing... It sounded blissful and as the children napped I raced round the house with a washing basket, throwing in objects that roughly approximated those on the list. Ten minutes later, having forgotten to put the water on, I lay in a luke-warm bath generously laced with Mr Matey, a dubious concoction of sweet potato and humous on my face, and PG Tips staining my eye-lids. My iPod having met an unfortunate end in the toilet some weeks earlier, Row Row Row Your Boat was playing from my son’s Fisher Price tape recorder. It was hardly Champneys. © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
Last night, with Mothers’ Day looming, I rang my own mother to bemoan my lack of ‘me’ time. I shared my fond memories of the breakfasts in bed of days gone by, and hoped out loud that this year I’d be encouraged to languish upstairs with a cup of tea and a copy of Hello. ‚But it wasn’t like that at all, darling‛ she exclaimed. ‚Once the three of you had slopped tea up the stairs and over the bedroom carpet, and I’d pretended to eat my hard-boiled egg and soggy soldiers, you’d disappear into the ether, leaving me to clear up the mess you’d made in the kitchen and scrape the glue and glitter off the walls, from your home-made cards‛. So it seems that Mother’s Day, like pain-free labour and Gina Ford babies, is a myth. Like the mysterious content of chain-letters, generations of women across the world have perpetuated the fiction that, once every year, those with children will be allowed at least one day off. Such honesty from my mother was a bitter blow to my naive anticipation of March 22nd, and I slumped onto the floor as the children, with the determination of ferreting terriers, made a bee-line for my lap. ‚Mummy‛, said my toddler, ‚I love you THIS much‛, stretching his arms wider than the world. Who needs flowers, anyway?
More Than Just A Mother is a mummy blogger with three small children, a boy of 26 months and twin girls of just 12 months. Tragically, she lost her little boy‟s twin brother when he was just a few weeks‟ old. She lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and family, and has recently gone back to work full-time. She writes an intensely honest, thought-provoking and entertaining blog … plus a weekly column on Bambino Goodies. Things that make me happy: the sound of my children laughing, catching up with my friends over pizza and a glass of wine Vices: blogging, white wine and chocolate Motto in life: keep your eyes on the prize!
mind and body
chill Marie-Laure Desire (seen here on the right) is co-founder of the Fulham Yogashala, the only studio in Britain to specialise in power yoga. The studio offers over 40 classes a week including power yoga, pregnancy yoga, kids yoga and pilates for new mums. A day in my life ... My day starts at 6am with my own yoga practice before my daughter wakes up. I then have a meeting with my best friend and business partner, Amelie (on the left in the above picture). Amelie has just had a baby boy on 28 February!
Marie-Laure Desire lets us into a few moves to find calm in a crazy world ... Being a mum can be one of the busiest and most stressful jobs out there and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll sometimes find it a challenge to balance the demands of your children, your relationship and your work, let alone find time for yourself.
At lunch, I may teach a class but often i go home to spend time with Noa. I‟m lucky the yoga studio is so close to my house! I relax by ... doing yoga of course. Or enjoying time with my husband and daughter. My day ends ... after teaching a class at 7pm and going home to kiss Noa goodnight.
We all know what we should be doing, or what we want to do, but for some reason we tend to put ourselves last and end up running out of time for ‘me’ time! Or, at least, we don’t create the time for it. And yet, just 20 minutes can make all the difference in the world, refreshing you, recharging your batteries and enabling you to function far more effectively.
I first began practicing power yoga to deal with a stressful job. Then I used it to get back into shape and find space for myself after having my daughter. It changed my life and I now practise every day (even if just for 20 minutes) because it gives me the energy and patience to manage whatever comes my way.
More and more, yoga is being seen as a great way to stay not only physically fit, but also mentally fit.
I want to share a few postures with you that will help create a sense of calm and well-being. They can easily be done at home.
A self confidence booster, Warrior 2 is very important for groundedness and creating a connection between you and your goals for the day. It relieves stiffness in the back, neck and shoulders, tones ankles and knees and reduces fat around the hips.
Supported half bridge
Easier than it might look, this position frees you to experience the full range of your emotions. Supported half bridge strengthens back muscles, energises you and removes fatigue.
Good to get those abdominals back into shape, Boat pose helps with stamina. It strengthens the tummy muscles (try it, you’ll soon feel it!) and also creates a feeling of balance and wellbeing.
This posture helps to release any tension in your neck and shoulders, and expands your chest to increase your lung capacity. It allows you to give of yourself and receive from others freely. As a woman who may be juggling the roles of wife or partner, mother, employee or entrepreneur, it supports a desire for patience, forgiveness and gratitude. You’ll get there. Just take time to enjoy the journey.
By clicking on the links shown by each pose, you will be able to access instructions on how to do that pose from the website www.abc-of-yoga.com © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
mind and body
who needs pills?
Imperfectly natural mum, Janey Lee Grace, suggests some alternative kitchen cupboard remedies < Common ailments affect us all from time to time so how can we treat the symptoms without resorting to pharmaceutical products? Well, that one’s easy nature has actually provided us with all we need, and sometimes being old style really is best. Before you head off to the chemist to treat a cold, tummy bug or headache, stop and see what’s in your kitchen cupboards, or maybe your fridge ...
Colds and flu In the wintertime, forget stocking up your medicine cabinet with commercial medicines for coughs, colds, etc. Remember old fashioned remedies like honey and lemon. Many respiratory problems can be cured with steam, just fill a bowl and put a towel over your head – add a drop of tea tree or eucalyptus oil to the water and steam away. This is also very beneficial for children with respiratory problems - sit with them to keep them safe under a big blanket or towel and play tents or you can get the bathroom all steamy and add some eucalyptus oil to the water. For bath time, add a cupful of Epsom salts to the water or better still Himalayan salt which has wonderfully healing and detoxifying properties. You can also use it on directly your food or for healthy cooking too.
Warts and veruccas Warts will eventually go away on their own but for a verucca, it sounds daft, but try putting the inner side of a banana skin against the foot and taping it down with a plaster. I’ve known the verucca to be gone within a few days of application.
Splinters If there’s a problem with physical removal, put a tiny piece of good quality bread on it and tape it over with a plaster. Believe it or not, the yeast content is said to draw out the splinter. Manuka honey is antibacterial and soothing, take it by the spoonful (it’s even more powerful with a little crushed garlic!) or spread it on rye toast. The higher the UMF rating, the better. Ginger is fantastic for colds, too. Keep fresh ginger in the freezer and then just grate a spoonful or two and pop it into a pan with hot water and lemon, simmer it, strain and sip throughout the day. As a vegetarian I don’t eat it, but I’m assured by very wise people that Chicken soup really is therapeutic in many ways. Make sure you buy an organic chicken.
Insomnia Always consider what you eat before bedtime. Bananas, lettuce and turkey are all sleep inducing foods but avoid alcohol and coffee for obvious reasons. Drink chamomile tea and, by the way, for tired eyes relax with chamomile tea bags over your eyes (once cooled of course!!). Lavender oil can be very effective so put it directly onto your pillow or put a few drops into an aromatherapy burner.
Stomach upsets For poorly tums or nausea, fresh ginger is excellent. For debilitating morning sickness or travel sickness, nibble fresh ginger or even a ginger biscuit if you’re on the go. You can buy ginger capsules in health shops, too. If your children suffer from travel sickness, try the wrist bands that sit on the relevant acupressure points, available from pharmacies. For diarrhoea, sip water and, if you can eat, have some grated apple.
Cystitis and thrush Avoid dairy and sugars for a few days, take a good probiotic and head for bed with a hot water bottle! Drink copious amounts of water and, if you can get it, unsweetened cranberry juice. Make your own lemon barley water, but use agave or honey to sweeten it rather than sugar. Aloe vera gel can help too.
Minor cuts and wounds Honey is an all rounder healer that can be applied to wounds, too. Manuka honey is antibacterial as well. Look for an ‘activity’ rating of +16 or more if you can afford it, but any honey will do the job.
Bruises Arnica has become almost as common as aspirin, and is fantastic for bruising and for shock. Most high street chemists sell it now. Use the arnica cream and, if severe, take a pillule of arnica 30. Apply a cold vinegar compress to the bruise if inflamed or use witch hazel. For more serious situations - for example, when you know you are about to have an operation take arnica 200 for a few days before the op and continue again during the recovery period. © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
mind and body
Bites and stings For nettle stings you’d automatically reach for dock leaves and for wasp stings reach for the vinegar. For a bee sting, use bicarbonate of soda mixed with water
Rashes and irritated skin For rashes and itchy skin conditions, there’s nothing finer than soothing porridge oats. Fill a little bag or thin sock with oats and run the water through it. It’s very soothing for children with chicken pox, too.
More from Janey … Five words to describe me: passionate, energetic, healthy, funny, impatient Things that make me happy: walking by the sea, drinking green juice, cuddling the kids, having a romantic meal, finding a decent alcohol-free wine Vices: wine, chocolate, answering emails
Burns and scalds Snip an aloe vera plant and use the juice (not great for the plant, I know) or put on neat lavender oil, it works incredibly quickly.
Toothache You remember, oil of cloves, very old style but well worth keeping in your medicine cabinet - it’ll do the job until you can get to see a dentist. For teething babies, crush a couple of homeopathic chamomilla tablets on a spoon and rub it along their gums.
Earache Drop a couple of drops of warmed olive oil into the ear. Try massaging lavender or chamomile oil with a base oil around the ear.
Virtues: reliability, honesty, enthusiasm, kindness … shall I go on?! My motto in life: All the ripples of holistic healing will one day add up to a sea of health Favourite book: ‘The Continuum Concept‟ by Jean Leidloff Favourite film: any Woody Allen film Favourite music: I‟ve got eclectic tastes Prince to Coldplay, Cocteau Twins to Dexys Midnight Runners Favourite meal: anything with loads of lightly steamed veg Favourite smell: fresh lemons Favourite piece of clothing: A pair of sexy stiletto boots, hurt like hell but worth it!
Janey Lee Grace is mother to four children with fantastic names: Sonny (10), Buddy (9), Rocky (5) and Lulu (3). She is also the author of several books, including „Imperfectly Natural Home‟, „Imperfectly Natural Woman‟, and „Imperfectly Natural Woman: the Pocketbook‟. As if that wasn‟t enough, she appears regularly on Radio 2‟s „Steve Wright in the Afternoon‟. She also runs a fantastic website with loads more recommendations and a thriving forum: www.imperfectlynatural.com
Most treasured possession: kids don‟t count, they‟re only „on loan‟, so … my juicer My children are: gorgeous, feisty, strongwilled, musical, artistic - lucky, aren‟t I?! A day in my life … I wake up anytime between 6am and 7.30am when the youngest two arrive in our bed. We home educate which means that every day is different, but we aim to have the older boys getting down to some work by 9am. I head off to the BBC late morning, the kids go to a wide variety of home ed groups or tutors and have a ridiculously busy social calendar. Early evening I work on my website for an hour or so before the kids‟ bedtime, and I relax by going to a yoga class. My day ends when I start to make too many typos!
fresh air fitness Mum, medal winner and founder of Fit Camp, Kimberly Rothman tells us why it’s better to exercise outdoors < At a time when we have more gyms, more books on exercise, more fitness DVDs, and access to a vast amount of information on exercise on the internet, why are we so desperately unfit as a nation? Perhaps it’s because we’ve stopped taking the natural approach to fitness <
We need to do it outside!! Think about it, how much of your time do you spend indoors and how much outside? For many of us, a typical day consists of getting up, getting into the car, © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
going into work, getting back into the car and coming home. Okay, if you’re not out at work full-time you may get to spend a few more hours in the fresh air (standing behind the swings in the park), but even then, the majority of modern life seems to take place indoors, in centrally heated or air-conditioned buildings. So how do you keep fit? Do you go to a stuffy gym and spend all your time on the running machine, bored and trying to stay motivated? Or do you head for the fields? True, the blast of fresh air when you first step out of your front door may make the gym seem like a cosy option. But just five minutes training outside will double your chances of getting the results you really want <
It helps you burn more calories Research has shown that we can burn up to 30% more calories when we work out outside rather than inside. It requires us to overcome gravity, ground reaction forces and other environmental factors such as wind, heat and cold, as well as changes in terrain. Therefore, our bodies are required to use more muscles than in comparable gym-based exercises and as a result more
mind and body
calories are used up. Also, our core body temperature will always work to stay around 36.8 C and it takes energy to do this < so, if it’s a bit chilly outside, we burn calories keeping warm!
It gives you a greater ‘feel good’ factor Training outside, especially when it’s not particularly warm, means that you need to keep moving. If you are training with a good group, you will be doing a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic work which will in no time be releasing those happy hormones called endorphins. The social benefits of group training are well documented - in a nutshell, you get better results because you push yourself harder than you do when you’re training alone (the benefits of peer pressure!). And the camaraderie of a group means you’re likely to turn up far more often!
It boosts your vitamins Vitamin D is made in the skin and is made from sunlight. It is essential to take in this nutrient which not only helps to protect the immune system but also helps in bone growth and maintenance of bone (to prevent such diseases as osteoporosis).
It keeps you healthier The fresh air you breathe outside is very different from a gym environment and doesn’t promote the spread of coughs, colds and other viruses in the same way that air conditioning tends to do. The outdoors has a much more immediate effect on your brain patterns - if you’ve ever gone for a run or exercised outside you will know that the effect is far, far more invigorating than running on a treadmill.
It encourages you to move naturally Coupled with all of the above is the fact that the outdoors gives us a terrain that works constantly on our pro perception (balancing ability), a vital part of our everyday health and wellbeing. The running machine, for instance, changes our natural gait - if you have ever compared running times indoor to out, you will know it’s much easier to run faster on a machine. The body normally uses 103 muscles to take just one step but, on a machine, your body is forced to work differently meaning that the support muscles don’t have to work nearly as hard. So, although you may go faster on a machine, you are robbing yourself of the body’s natural ability to work in unison. There are many different ways to approach outdoor exercise so search around your local area for fitness camps, running groups, outdoor gyms or other clubs you can join. Fit Camps are a fantastic way to lose weight, tone up and get an energy boost … all whilst exercising outdoors. Visit www.fit-camp.co.uk for more information ...
Kimberly Rothman is a mum of three and a medal-winning athlete, who only took up sport seriously at the age of 31! She has now set up Fit Camps to help people get the most from their workouts and kickstart new healthy lifestyles. Five words to describe me: happy, determined, funny, optimistic, pragmatist Things that make me happy: my children, my friends, my athletics, my home, my work, all changing in order depending on the time of day and what‟s happening in my life! Motto in life: nothing is impossible! Favourite book: „Awaken the giant within‟ by Tony Robbins - I read it one holiday and it changed the way I thought about a lot of things.
looking good, feeling fine
Mummo loves German label Bellybutton, set up by five mums
Just had to include these images, which show a few pieces from the Spring / Summer ‘09 collection by German label Bellybutton. Okay, I admit, I’m a sucker for aspirational marketing < but who wouldn’t want to look like this and live a life like this?! They’re such feel-good photos I want to rush out and buy the clothes < and I’m not even pregnant. Yes, believe it or not, this is maternity wear! Bellybutton also offers their own children’s clothing range and a skincare range. If by any chance you’re tempted, you can find a list of UK stockists and also order online at www.bellybutton.co.uk. All photos courtesy of Bellybutton - www.bellybutton.co.uk
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family and home
the games we play
Board games lead to brighter children and happier families < It maybe child's play, but you'd be amazed at what children can learn through games. Watch children playing board games with each other, running a three legged race or playing football – they’re having fun and, at the same time, learning co-operation, teamwork, role clarity, strategy and tactics. Not only is there is a wealth of supporting research, but there are also a growing number of educational advocates who emphasise that the most productive way of learning is through fun and hands-on experience and that game playing provides the perfect tool. According to the head of Ofsted, for example, children who play traditional board games at home do better at school. He said the games help children to think for themselves, to wait their turn and to hold a conversation with adults. And he expressed a concern that computer games and television can discourage
children from activities that better stimulate their imagination. Stephen Twigg, Education Minister, said that play is vitally important to education. The National Union of Teachers conference produced a statement saying that children, in particular, learn through play and they want everyone to spend more time playing, as a "crucial" lifelong learning tool. The National Foundation for Educational Research concluded that children should have more access to "play-based" learning. Even the venerable Plato said ‚Not by force shall the youth learn, but through play.‛ So what can you do to reap the benefits of game playing with your own children? Here are 8 steps to help you get started <
Get some good games Buy or dust off some games that are old favourites. Games like draughts, dominoes, connect four and card games, are not only terrific fun but they are also stimulating, challenging and involve concentration and strategy. Make it a regular thing Choose a convenient slot in your weekly routine that is an ideal time for your family to sit down together and play a few games, such as a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon, for example. Set the scene Add some elements to help ‚game time‛ become a family tradition: add favourite foods (bowls of popcorn or mugs of hot chocolate perhaps?), a comfy warm setting (in front of a roaring fire?), invite grandparents, etc. Cater for all ages Start with games that are suited to the youngest age group present, or have a few games going at the same time that fit the various age ranges. Make sure everyone understands the rules and aims of the game being played. Give everyone a chance by demonstrating good moves and strategies on the game board before beginning the ‚real‛ game‛. Discuss game etiquette Explain that to enjoy playing games we all have to play by the rules, respect our partners and respect the outcome of the game. In order to have fun playing games together, we can’t gloat when we win and we can’t get upset when we lose. If we play lots of games together, there will be lots of chances for each of us to win sometimes, and lose sometimes. Either way we will have had a fun time playing together. Be a positive role model Show your own interest and enthusiasm for the game, give it concentration and effort, both for your own enjoyment, and also as a role model for your children. Rather than play ineffectively to ensure your child wins, instead, help your child learn from your game playing skills. Discuss out loud the moves you are making and why, to help your child understand the strategies you are using. If your child makes a move that is to their disadvantage, encourage them to look again and guide them to see a better move by asking them open questions such as: © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
‚What are all the different options you have?‛ ‚What will happen if you make that move?‛ ‚What might be a better move that you could take?‛ ‚I can see a way that you can win, can you see it?‛ Whether your child wins or loses, at the end of the game summarise what you learnt from the game and then ask your child: ‚What did you learn from that game?‛ ‚What might you do differently next time we play?‛ Keep it fresh Keep people interested in ‘game time’ by regularly introducing new games. Surprise everyone by giving the family a new game as a present every few weeks. Games that can be played within an hour and involve thinking, memory, strategy or calculation are recommended - for example: Othello, Guess Who, Mancala, Nine Man Morris, Scrabble, Chinese Chequers or Rush Hour. We hope you enjoy and learn from ‚game time‛ in your family as much as we do in ours! Mind Lab Europe was established in 2003 by Suri Poulos and her husband, Darrel. Mind Lab believes that the best way of learning is through experience. We use carefully selected board games from around the world as a tool to engage children and teach them effective thinking together with social and emotional intelligence. Over two million children in 34 countries have benefited from this innovative and enriching programme. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01628 509021 www.mindlabeurope.com
Suri Poulos is American by birth but has been in the UK for over 21 years. She lives with her husband and their four children in Henley-on-Thames. Favourite smell: gardenias Things that make me happy: gardening, walks, chatting with good friends around a dinner table, helping someone else
family and home
do as I say, not as I do
Potty Mummy ponders her approach to parenting < Are you a hypocritical parent? No. Are you sure? Are you absolutely positive? Ever said to your child ‚No, you can’t have any more crisps, they’re full of salt and fat and very bad for you‛ and then finished the packet when they’ve left the room? Ever doled out a measly handful of chocolate buttons, and then wolfed the rest down yourself when no-one is looking? Have you ever said ‚Right, that’s enough television for now. Let’s get outside into the garden, it’s a lovely day‛ and then spent the evening watching mindless drivel and repeats of ‘Friends’? Have you ever commented on the fact that your child’s bedroom is a tip and insisted that everything is tidied away before the fun stuff happens, whilst stoically ignoring the fact that your own bed looks as if it’s a stall at the local Bring and Buy fair?
Have you ever insisted that your children finish their dinner because it’s full of vitamins which they need to grow big and strong, and then eaten a frozen pizza (with salad, of course) after they’re in bed? No? Me neither.
Blog post - 28th January 2009
Potty Mummy is a former marketing consultant with two little boys who writes a blog called The Potty Diaries. She started it to talk about potty training her eldest son but, now that both boys are „done‟, sees it more as a way of stopping her going potty! Here‟s how she describes herself … “a stay-at-home mum still coming to terms with not also being a career woman. Really. You’d think I’d be over it by now: it’s been 3 years since I last worked - and went to the loo with the door shut after all …”
extreme motherhood Jodie Hampshire tells us how her life changed when she adopted three children from the other side of the world < For my husband Robert and I, adoption has always been the way we imagined we’d create our family. It’s not a choice that is easy to explain, I think it is one of those decisions that either feels right, or doesn’t.. When we moved from London to Dubai for Robert’s job, I stopped working < and starting our family moved from being something we talked about for the future to a more immediate reality. International adoption was the right choice for our family and we started to investigate the options. We came across an amazing man who had lived in Dubai and who had adopted four children from Sierra Leone, West Africa, as a single dad. After discussions with him and other families, we started to look seriously at Sierra Leone. Many people have heard of Sierra Leone only through the movie Blood Diamond, or the Kanye West song. While the civil war has been over for some years now, Sierra Leone is still recovering. It is ranked last out of 177 countries evaluated by the United Nations in an index comparing poverty, life expectancy, literacy, education, and other factors. Sierra Leone has the world’s worst infant mortality rate. Roughly 1 in 4 children die before they reach the age of 5. More than half of these children will die of preventable causes.
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Sierra Leone has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. 1800 in 100,000 women die during childbirth, compared to 8 in 100,000 in the US. Approximately 64% of Sierra Leoneans do not have any access to medical care. After going through the home study process to prepare us for adoption, we waited and waited < until finally, in August 2007, we were asked to travel to Sierra Leone to bring home our little girl. Then, in December 2007, the three of us returned to Sierra Leone to adopt our other two children, on our fourth wedding anniversary.
I will never forget meeting each of our children for the first time, it still sends shivers up my spine when I think about it. It is such a precious moment for us and so scary for them. When adopting children, most people concentrate their energies on helping the kids settle. We were completely focused on this, but did not really prepare for the adjustment we ourselves had to make to being parents. Probably this is something you can’t prepare for until you are in the middle of it! We had gone
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from living the life of London professionals with a funky flat in Clerkenwell, lots of dinners out and weekends reading the paper over coffee, to kids, schools, playdates, all multiplied by three and all in a matter of months. We had language and cultural issues to bridge and lots of things to learn quickly as new parents. I didn’t realise how grumpy months of interrupted sleep would make me, or how full-on being a mum really was. Parents we spoke to would say we were taking on a lot of change in our lives, but it wasn’t for ages, in the middle of sleepless nights and trying to figure out ways to deal with tantrums, that I stepped back and thought, aha, now I understand that this is hard work! But the most rewarding work ever! While taking on three children in the space of a year has been tough for us as new parents, we can see how happy the kids are to be together. They all knew each other well before coming home, so have taken comfort from having each other around. In fact, the kids desperately want another brother! Our life is slowly getting into some sort of routine, which we’re grateful for. 2008 was a blur as we all adjusted to our new family. Our eldest came home with malaria, so we started off our new family life with a hospital stay, which was not at all fun for her. I then homeschooled her for the first months, also not at all fun for her. In the end, I got some help with that before (thankfully!) finding a good school. Our youngest was not at nursery until later in the year. I really cannot remember how we managed this, but am pleased that all of the kids are now in a little routine they are happy with.
Seeing the kids’ personalities take shape is amazing. They are each so different but somehow, as a family, we seem to work. The kids are all full of charm and energy, we are definitely not a quiet family. We like to get outside and play, to have music on to dance around to, to swim and tickle and laugh a lot. In the midst of everything I decided it would be the perfect time to start a business, Aunty Ollie. I started with kids bedding and am now producing a range of kids clothing with cool, funky unusual printed fabrics.
Sure, it adds to the stress of life but is incredibly fulfilling. I think it is great for the kids to see that mum works too, and I’d be delighted if they were entrepreneurial as life is a lot more fun that way! Our life now is crazy, full-on and completely different to our life just 18 months ago. I do have moments where I go, oh, what happened here? But it is the best, most perfect life I could have imagined.
I have a gorgeous family full of love and am living life at full speed. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Jodie Hampshire lives in Dubai with her husband, Robert, and their three children aged 13, 5 and 3. In and amongst caring for her new family, Jodie has also been busy setting up a new business - Aunty Ollie - a range of bedding and clothing for kids. Things that make you happy ... I am a great believer in making your life as beautiful as it can be, really taking pleasure from the simple things - a beautiful cup to drink coffee in the morning, a gorgeous framed picture in the kids‟ rooms. I am mad for printed fabrics so use these all over the house! Living in the moment - something I was not really great at pre-kids. Having my three children makes me very focused on the here and now. Laughing with the kids and about parenthood! After we adopted the children, our life (and theirs) was turned upside down in ways I could not have imagined. Last year was a complete blur for my husband and I, and when we get stressed one of the best strategies is to have a laugh at ourselves. And of course three little ones fond of dancing, tickling and running about does give us lots to laugh about. As life gets crazier we tend to laugh more and more bring it on!
the lowdown on Sierra Leone
Full name: Republic of Sierra Leone Population: 6 million Capital: Freetown (founded as a home for repatriated former slaves in 1787) Area: 71,740 sq km (27,699 sq miles) Major languages: English, Krio and a range of African languages Major religions: Islam, Christianity Currency: Leone Main exports: diamonds, rutile, coffee, fish Life expectancy: 41 years (men), 44 years (women) (UN)
The Republic of Sierra Leone, in West Africa, is one of the worldâ€™s poorest countries < despite its wealth of diamonds. ÂŠ Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
Sierra Leone emerged from a decade of civil war in 2002, with the help of Britain, the former colonial power, and a large United Nations peacekeeping mission. The country now faces the challenge of reconstruction. Despite being poverty-stricken, Sierra Leone is rich in diamonds. The trade in illicit gems, known as "blood diamonds" for their role in funding conflicts, perpetuated the civil war. The government has attempted to crack down on cross-border diamond trafficking.
family and home
More from Jodie … Vices: Oh, too many to mention!!! OK, the ones I‟ll admit to - Thornton‟s Turkish Delight and a cup of Earl Grey tea… Nothing better to end the day! Movies – I‟d say I watched maybe a movie a year before the children came along. Now, when I‟m feeling tired, I convince them we need to go to the cinema to watch a kids movie (all so I can have a rest … when not being the popcorn police!) Magazines – visitors are shocked at the stacks of magazines around the house. I can‟t really justify it as imported magazines cost a small fortune here. I know I need to downsize this addiction but, hey, I do recycle them! Virtues: As with all of us mums, I am great at multitasking! After school, I help with homework, cook dinner, referee barneys between the kids, bath, visit some of my suppliers, answer emails, sort out our teenager‟s Facebook glitches and so on and on (and on!) Motto in life: I wish I could say something profound here but I think I live my life along the lines of just getting on with things. Favourite book: I really like Jhumpa Lahiri‟s books and also Rohinton Mistry, especially „A Fine Balance‟. These books are full of colour and personality, and are so easy to escape into. Favourite film: My two favourite films are both Mexican: „Like Water for Chocolate‟ and „Y Tu Mama Tambien‟. Like the novels I love, these have beautiful imagery, larger than life characters, quirky stories. Favourite smell: I love the smell of chlorine, it smells like childhood to me, and now, of tired, happy kids who will fall into bed easily! I‟m also a bit of a premature Nana and adore the smells of rose and lavender. Favourite piece of clothing / outfit: Continuing with my granny tendencies, I love dresses. If I ever get some spare time, I‟d like to expand my kids clothing business, Aunty Ollie, to include vintage looking adult dresses, skirts and tops. Most treasured possession: The things I treasure are things like photos, memories (and sanity!) My children: Our eldest girl is very caring and creative. She is quickly becoming a typical teenager with a High School Musical obsession! Our little girl is about as girly as you can get. She has a collection of bags to rival the Queen‟s, each sensibly packed with a pretend mobile phone, lip gloss, pretend money (all the essentials in life!) If she could wear Mum‟s “high hill” shoes to school, life would be complete! And the baby of the family, our little boy, is quickly morphing into a real boy. When he was a little younger, he spent his days being dressed up in princess dresses and high heels by his sisters. While he is still partial to lip gloss, he is showing a preference for pushing his toy cars around endlessly - hard as a woman to understand but hey, it keeps him entertained... A day in my life: Our day starts early as we get the kids up and out to school and nursery by 7.30am, I head back to my (lovely, quiet!) house to work until lunchtime, when I head out for my horrendous school run. The girls are in different schools and our boy is at nursery … so the afternoon is spent driving from one school to another and trying to find something to do for the hour or two in between the different finish times. This is usually a park in the winter, but more of a struggle when the temperatures hit 45 degrees over the summer! I am a slummy mummy and we don‟t do organised after school activities – the logistics are impossible and, conveniently, I am a believer in letting kids play without being overscheduled! The little ones head to bed before 7pm and my husband and I spend time with our eldest girl, at the ent we‟re taking turns having a swim at night which is great. I fall into bed around 10pm and never, ever have any trouble going to sleep.
Lisa Warner of Fink Cards reveals how to build family bonds over the dinner table < For many busy parents the words ‘quality time’ instantly conjure up feelings of guilt! Juggling home and work is hard enough but finding room for that magical hour of quality time every day seems a near impossibility to many stressed-out parents. Well, I think I may have found the solution and it’s been sitting under our noses all the time! Family mealtimes can offer so much more than just food. It’s a time when your family can reconnect, listen to and focus on each other - in a nut shell it is prime quality time, and it’s available everyday!
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Public Health Nutritionist, Yvonne Wake explains: ‚Regular meal times give children the opportunity to discuss problems with family members; it relaxes and encourages them to wind down. Research shows that families that eat together more than twice a week are more likely to have closer relationships.‛ The research makes interesting reading but doesn’t really come as a surprise. I have always been a big fan of family mealtimes and over the years I’ve found that my children have come to love the time we spend together at the dinner table. We talk about important events, people moving away, new jobs, new schools, and precious anniversaries. Our conversations build a rich family history. My children seem to soak it all in, they never tire of hearing stories about when they were younger, when me and my husband met, where we lived and what we did. It all fits together and helps to build their identity - sharing our stories keeps family lore strong! The regularity of dinner time, the comfort and security it seems to offer at the end of a long day is reassuring to us all. Our mealtimes have evolved in to something
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more than just routine, I would say it has become a ritual. I think Miriam Weinstein, author of ‘The Surprising Power of Family Meals’ puts it perfectly when she says this ...
"Sitting down to a meal together draws a line around us, it encloses us and, for a brief time, strengthens the bonds that connect us with other members of our self-defined clan, shutting out the rest of of the world."
Eating is a social activity and the benefits for your child’s confidence and social skills are massive. The dinner table is an excellent place to learn about conversation and gain confidence in communicating. If you need convincing, just ask a primary school teacher what a boost regular family mealtimes can be to a child’s language development! I know you may be thinking that this is a recipe for indigestion and just another demand on your time. As the mother of four teenage children, I do understand how tricky it can be to fit in a family meal when your kids have umpteen after-school activities and your husband gets home late. If you really want to do it, though, it can be done. Follow these tips and with very little effort you can create an oasis of quality time for your family every day!
Build family meals into your routine If after school activities or long work hours make it difficult to eat together every night, try building at least two family mealtimes into your weekly routine. If it’s really impossible to set a regular family mealtime, try a late evening dessert get-together or a weekend breakfast instead!
Get the food sorted first Plan your meals in advance. Not only will this save you time and money but it will also save your sanity
when the ‚what’s for dinner?‛ chants start at 4pm each afternoon.
Make it fun Keep the conversation enjoyable, avoid nagging and steer clear of any ‘heavy’ or potentially dangerous subjects! Talk about happy memories, an upcoming family event or holiday, or use conversation cards like the ones we produce at Fink Cards. Questions like ‘Would you like to be famous?’ or Would you rather be an adult or child?’ are usually enough to get conversation started.
Involve the whole family Make sure everyone is included and has the opportunity to speak and be listened to! Be careful to ensure that the topics of conversation are appropriate for all family members.
Put up the ‘do not disturb’ sign! One of the most important things you can do is turn the TV off and let the phone ring! I have often let phone calls interrupt our dinner, because I find it difficult not to succumb to a ringing phone. However, last week, when the telephone rang in the middle of our meal, I found myself saying those magic words ‚if it’s important they will ring back.‛ Something amazing happened - there was a shift in everyone’s attention, everything seemed to freeze for a millisecond whilst my children registered what I had just done. In that moment they knew that they were my number one priority. I was focused on them and nothing else was more important. For me this was a revelation - right there round our table was the everelusive quality time! Lisa Warner has four teenage children and is the founder of Fink™ a company that is passionate about communication and on a mission to get people talking! Her family edition Fink conversation cards are designed to get families back to the dinner table. Lisa has now produced a teenage edition aimed at getting young people to talk about tricky issues like sex, drugs and relationships!
a reminder ... This was created by Jill McDonald, an American illustrator and mother of a little boy, to remind her of the comforts of home. Here’s what she says about it in her blog: ‚It's the little things that make up life and the same little things I often forget to take in & enjoy. Just a subtle reminder to myself. Slowdown, touch, take a look, reach out, remember ...‛ www.jillmcdonalddesign.com www.jillmcdonald.blogspot.com
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family and home
< or essential? Parent coach, Sue Atkins, argues that ‘me’ time makes mums more effective ...
Being a mum is a wonderfully fulfilling, rewarding and joyful experience. But it can also be an exhausting, frustrating and overwhelming business too. As a mum, you are often the lynchpin of your whole family. If you are tired, stressed and snappy, chances are your whole family is tense, as they take their lead from you and pick up on your vibes. So, how do you get the balance right between your family’s needs and your own? How do you find a way to be upbeat and enthusiastic rather than selfless yet exhausted?
One of the first things I encourage mums to do is to remember what they enjoyed doing before they had kids. This releases positive happy memories and helps to relax you. Was it sitting down with a cup of coffee and a magazine for half an hour, going to a film with your partner, or having a bubble bath with your favourite fragrance and a scented candle? Thinking about this will help you to tap back into what makes you smile, relax and feel nurtured. As a mum, you are often so busy looking after other people that you end up neglecting your own needs and, before you know it, you’re running on empty. I believe it’s really important to look after yourself first because then you are in better shape emotionally, physically and mentally to look after your family in a positive way. That’s why on planes they tell you to put your mask on first, so that you are then in a position to help your child with his or hers! Overleaf is a wheel I use on my Work-Life Balance Workshops. Take a few moments to relax and breathe deeply and slowly. This helps you to become creative.
Delegate One of the quickest ways to alleviate the feelings of overwhelm is to delegate jobs around the house. Young children love to help and can start by laying the table or putting their toys away. Teenagers can bring down their washing and even turn on the washing machine if you show them how (as they are, after all, the most technically advanced generation!) and partners really can load up the dishwasher if they know it makes you smile more! It’s about being open and confident about asking. It’s also about expecting your family to be a team willing to pull together to help each other.
Start thinking of fun ways to recharge your batteries and replenish your energy, and write one in each segment of the wheel.
So grab a pen and paper and brainstorm all the jobs you currently do that could be shared out amongst your family. Jot them down and allocate each one to a particular person or people.
Now you’ve got seven ideas that you can act on once a week, once a month or even once a day - whenever you feel the need - to help you unwind, restore your energy and lift your spirits. Pop these ideas in your diary, keep them by the phone or pin them up on the fridge to remind you.
Now just relax, close your eyes and daydream. Imagine your family happily and willingly doing their jobs easily. Make the picture in your mind full of colour and sounds, and bring the picture up close to you. Feel how good it feels when everyone is pulling their weight and being part of a family team.
I hereby grant you permission to BANISH THE BIG GUILT GREMLIN!
Now ask yourself:
I’m here to tell you that looking after yourself and nurturing yourself is one of the key ingredients of being a brilliant mum. Let go of being the perfect parent
What will be the benefits to you? What could be some of the obstacles in the way to this happening?
Lots of mums feel that only they can do all the jobs that need doing properly. Only they know their kids’ bedtime routines or little foibles. But being a perfectionist is unrealistic and exhausting. It also denies your child the broader experience of others contributing to their lives and doing things in different ways. So allow people to help you and don’t take it as a weakness or a criticism or an indication that you can’t cope. We all need a break so that we can bounce back full of renewed energy and raring to go. © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
What will be the benefits to your children if they learn to help? (independence, confidence, cooperation, responsibility?)
How will you get round them? What do you need to do to make these new ways into habits? Relax, daydream and rehearse what you want to say, how you want to say it and where you want to talk with your family. This gives you confidence, clarity and purpose. Imagine it going well, enjoy those feelings and relax.
family and home
Nurturing your needs and giving yourself ‘time off’ and ‘me time’ is a vital part of respecting yourself and valuing your very important role as a mum. So commit to making a couple of small changes this Mother’s Day. Look after yourself and watch your confidence, enthusiasm and happiness soar.
Sue Atkins runs Positive Parents, a parent coaching company, and is dedicated to supporting parents in their daily ‚adventure‛ to bring up great kids and create a happy family. Positive Parents offers workshops and one-to-one parent coaching (face-to-face and by telephone), plus highly informative newsletters. Visit www.positive-parents.com ...
Sue Atkins is a motherof-two and former Deputy Head Teacher who now runs her own company - Positive Parents. She is also a qualified life coach, NLP Master Practitioner and Thought Field Therapy parenting specialist. Five words to describe me: enthusiastic, passionate, committed, fun-loving and a good listener (is that more than five ...?!!) Things that make me happy: singing, salsa dancing, walking my dogs and watching Chelsea with the kids and Kevin my hubby, meals out with friends chatting and laughing Vices: white wine, cheese and onion crisps! Virtues: compassion, integrity and honesty Favourite smell: jasmine Most treasured possession: my Tudor farmhouse and my little red Mini!
that’s not my mummy! a poem by More Than Just A Mother < That's not my mummy, her tummy is too flat. That's not my mummy, her hair is too clean. That's not my mummy, her clothes are too fashionable. That's not my mummy, her fridge contains too much food, all of which is in-date and organic. That's not my mummy, her legs are too smooth and her eyebrows don't join in the middle. That's not my mummy, her career is actually going somewhere. That's not my mummy, her heels are at least four inches, yet she walks smoothly without tripping. That's not my mummy, her skincare routine is too thorough, and she actually knows what toner is for. THAT'S my mummy! Her expression is so harassed and bordering on hysteria. Hmm, on second thoughts, actually I'll take one of the others.
My children: Will (16) placid and calm like his Dad. Molly (14) is funny and emotionally soooooo literate - we like buying earrings and going to Primark together! I relax by: reading, salsa dancing and opening a bottle of wine on a Friday
Morethanjustamother excerpt from blog post 6th March 2009
result! The Mummo motherhood survey suggests we’re happier now we’re mums ...
small talk In her blog, Homeofficemum describes the kind of conversation that every mother recognises <
A while back, we launched a Mummo survey to find out more about motherhood. I’ll be the first to admit that I found becoming a mum a really big deal! And that’s despite the fact that I had my children relatively late in life so I should have known what I was getting myself into! That’s despite the fact that I wanted them desperately and was (still am, of course) utterly thrilled to have them. Nonetheless, the transition to motherhood rocked me to the core. I wanted to find out how other women felt about it. The survey is still live so these are only interim results, but of the mums who have responded so far: 76.9% are more or much more satisfied with ‘family and home’ now than they were before children (BC) 60.2% say that the statement ’I am happy’ is more or much more true of them now than it was BC
"Muuuummmy!" Son 1 yells from the loo. "What?" "I've got one more poo and I can't get it out! It's huge and it just won't come out!" "Well, what exactly would you like me to do about it?" "Get something and stick it up my bum to get it out." "I don't think we can do that." "C'monnnnnnnn. It juuuust woooon't cooooome ooooooout! I think this poo has been in my bum since, since < since I was born!" Who says I don't get scintillating conversation?
67.6% say that the statement ‘I am fulfilled’ is more or much more true of them now than BC Great news, and some consolation for the physical price many of us have paid for motherhood. Over half of the mums surveyed (66.2% in fact) are less or much less satisfied with their bodies and the way they look since having kids! Luckily, it appears that our post-baby saggy baggy bits don’t detract from our overall contentment. And why should they?! Want to have your say? Take the survey right now and tell us how you found the transition to motherhood. Go on, it’ll only take a few minutes and, for each completed questionnaire, we’ll give 25p to the ‘million mums’ campaign as a thank you.
Homeofficemum - blog post - 5th February 2009 © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
family and home
A mother’s love
A mother and her new daughter She and I were alone. I heard her before I saw her. She was making strong, broken noises of protest, sorrow, from an unidentifiable region near my bed. ‘Yes, yes, I know,’ I said. ‘Never mind, I know.’ Immediately she was silent, listening. In this soundless night, recognition started to vibrate, like a fine filament, between us; quickened, tautened. I swung in living darkness, emptiness; in the beginning of the deepest listening of my life.
Rosamond Lehmann, ‘The Swan in the Evening: Fragments of an Inner Life’ An excerpt from ‘A mother’s love’, edited by Tanith Carey.
‘It wasn’t your baby’ There were two warring tribes in the Andes, one that lived in the lowlands and the other high in the mountains. The mountain people invaded the lowlanders one day, and as part of their plundering of the people, they kidnapped a baby of one of the lowlander families and took the infant with them back up into the mountains. The lowlanders didn’t know how to climb the mountains. They didn’t know any of the trails that the mountain people used, and they didn’t know where to find the mountain people, or how to track them in the steep terrain. Even so, they sent out their best party of fighting men to climb the mountains and bring the baby home. The men tried first one method of climbing and then another. They tried one trail and then another. After several days of effort, however, they had climbed only several hundred feet. Feeling hopeless and helpless, the lowlander men decided that the cause was lost, and they prepared to return to their village below. As they were packing for the descent, they saw the baby’s mother walking towards them. They realised that she was coming down the mountain that they hadn’t figured out how to climb. And then they saw that she had the baby strapped to her back. How could that be? One man greeted her and said: ‘We couldn’t climb this mountain. How did you do this when we, the strongest and most able men in the village, couldn’t do it?’
She shrugged her shoulders and said: ‘It wasn’t your baby.’
Tanith Carey is a journalist who writes regularly for The Daily Mail and The Daily Mirror - as well as a huge range of women‟s magazines. She is the former New York-based US correspondent, Features Editor and Woman‟s Editor for the Daily Mirror. She is also the former Consumer Journalist of the Year and runner up for the UKPG Scoop of the Year. Tanith lives in London with her husband, journalist Anthony Harwood, and their two little girls - Lily (7) and Clio (4) - who she describes as “artistic, passionate, chatty, delightful”. Five words to describe me: driven, focused, honest, busy, inquisitive Things that make me happy: seeing my children create things, whether it‟s drawings, music or funny remarks Vices: overwork, wanting everything now Motto in life: you make your own luck Favourite book: “I don‟t know how she does it” by Allison Pearson Favourite music: The Killers
Jim Stovall, ‘You Don’t Have to Be Blind to See’ An excerpt from ‘A mother’s love’, edited by Tanith Carey.
© Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
New book due out soon …
career and business
Micro Scooter mums Mummo talks to Anna Gibson and Philippa Gogarty, who have six children between them and are Directors of Micro Scooters Ltd.
I’m sure that many of our readers are familiar with the ubiquitous pink and blue scooters that are at the core of your business. Can you tell us a little about how you both met and how you became involved with Micro Scooters Ltd? Philippa: ‚We met in 2002 as young mums at our first baby weigh-in for our newborn sons. At the time we were both living in Clapham, South London, and were struggling to keep pace with an ever-growing band of extremely active kids. Anna had managed to get hold of the Mini Micro Scooter for her children and couldn’t believe how it changed her life for the better. The first order she took for the scooters was for three which at the time seemed a considerable investment and which were sold literally door-to-door, amongst neighbours and friends. She knew the eyecatching product would quickly become a talking point at the school gates and in the parks so had the brainwave of putting a sticker with her mobile telephone number on the base of all the scooters she subsequently sold and soon the orders were flooding in.
Mini and Maxi Micro Scooter. From there we set up a dedicated website to sell the scooter: www.micro-scooters.co.uk and also established a loyal network of mums who became ambassadors for the brand and sold scooters on our behalf for a slice of the profit – mum-to-mum marketing at its’ finest!‚
One day a scooter changed my life, yeah ...
At the time they were only available in a handful of specialist shops so we joined forces and set out to make it more widely available. This led to the establishment of Micro Scooters Ltd in 2004 which has sole distribution rights in the UK for both the
What happened next to make the company into the household name it is today?
Anna: ‚At this stage we started to realise what a truly amazing product we had and started developing bigger ambitions for the company. With no previous experience (I was a litigation lawyer by training and Philippa was a fundraiser), we set about knocking on doors and persuading some of the UK’s toy retailers to stock the product; including the likes of the John Lewis Partnership for whom the Mini Micro Scooter is now its best selling toy. The products are now going into distribution in the USA, South Africa, Holland and Southern Ireland as well, so it is a very exciting time for us.‛
Anna Gibson is one of the Micro Scooter mums. She has three boys - Edward (8), William (7) and Jack (4). Five words to describe me: happy go lucky … although that was before I started a business! Motto in life: Learn as if you were to live forever, live as if you were to die tomorrow (Mother Teresa) Things that make me happy: sailing, skiing, playing music, a walk on the beach Favourite film: Erin Brockovich Most treasured possession: my cello Vices: a pint of lager!
The Scooters have become a real ‘trend’ particularly round urban areas. Why do you think this is? The products speak for themselves and their success is due to the fact that once someone has seen them in action, they can immediately see the value. The stability and ease of use benefit even the youngest of toddlers as soon as they start using them, giving them independence and confidence. They offer parents not only a good value toy, but one that benefits them and their children in numerous ways: an easy and fun way to get exercise, a way to speed up a slow walk, plus they are portable, stylish and light. What are the ups and down for you and your family of being involved in a business like this - which clearly takes a lot of your time? Anna: ‚Having worked as a litigation lawyer for seven years I then gave up to start a family. Four years later I found myself the full-time mother of three active boys who wanted to be on Clapham Common every minute of the day. The Mini Micro Scooter literally saved my life. I no longer had to struggle with two in a double buggy and one on foot. I was stopped by numerous mothers on Clapham Common with enquiries for the scooter and knew then that it was a necessity for every mother and child to have one. I would never have imagined that four years later our whole family would have come to depend on the business as my husband Ben left his job to join our ever growing venture. I feel privileged to work with people I totally trust and to build a venture that we all believe in so passionately.‛ Philippa: ‚I wake up every day unable to believe that my dream is a reality. I work with my best friend and people I love and, whatever anyone tells you, good © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
relationships are the difference between being happy and unhappy. I am able to take my children to school, pick them up and put them to bed. I sell a scooter that I love and work with a Swiss design company that is passionate and inspiring. Friends and my wonderful husband will testify that it’s not all plain sailing and the stresses and strains show as we grow from two mothers to eight full time staff. However, I never take for granted how lucky I am to have a business that meets my emotional, intellectual and financial needs.‛ Anna, how has your previous career as a lawyer helped you with this business? ‚Although my professional background as a lawyer might perhaps, at first glance, not seem the natural breeding ground for budding entrepreneurs, it has in fact stood me in really good stead. I’ve learnt that establishing a successful business requires a balance of big vision with the ability to absorb small detail. When you’re negotiating with the big retailers and sorting major distribution deals, there’s no doubt that you can potentially be overwhelmed by the scale of the opportunity presented to you. To realise the success of that sort of association and create a more level playing field, the devil really will be found in the contractual detail – something that is second nature to me as a lawyer. Equally, I never thought of myself as a sales person, but when you are genuinely passionate about what you do, you don’t need technique because you’ve got integrity and that, I believe, is what people ultimately buy into. We’ve had a fantastic four years and, with our global expansion plans currently underway, it feels in many ways like we’ve only just begun!‛ And what does the future hold for the company in terms of product development?
career and business
Philippa Gogarty is the other half of the Micro Scooter mums. She also has three children: Georgia (14), Thomas (8) and Dominic (7). Five words to describe me: upbeat, optimistic, outgoing, friendly (at best), stressed and bad tempered (at worst) Motto in life: you only have one life! Favourite book: „For Whom the Bell Tolls‟ by Ernest Hemingway Favourite film: „Meet the Fockers‟ Favourite food: anything that anyone has bothered to cook for me! Favourite piece of clothing: grey suede boots by Michael Korrs - bought in sterling hey day (2:1) and down from $400 to $80 making them just £40!!!! Most treasured possession: the boots, obviously!
Anna: ‚We feel that Micro Scooters Ltd is very much a reflection of our values as individuals and mothers. Within that, our philosophy is that we will only sell products that either make our lives easier because of the benefits they bring to family life or because they have some intrinsic educational value. As a result of the success of the Micro Scooter range we have been inspired to search for other toys that meet that criteria and have recently discovered and added to the range a couple of great new concepts including ‘Mic o Mic,’ an ingenious self build set of toys that are fun to create and make great and long-lasting play-things, and the award winning Weykick, a fastpaced table-top soccer game for two players.
The Mini Micro Scooter is now the best-selling scooter in the UK
The new Maxi Micro Scooter is intended for children from 6 - 11, so years more fun!
Anna and Philippa demonstrate brilliantly how motherhood, rather than limiting your career options, can open up a whole new world of opportunity where your previous professional skills can be combined with your current life skills and circumstances to create an unstoppable force! Their success with Micro Scooters is living proof that the best ideas come from identifying and meeting real need. You don’t necessarily have to come up with something totally new, you just have to spot, and then seize, an opportunity. Anna and Philippa also demonstrate that, if you have a clear vision of how things can and will work, it is possible to be both highly successful career women and fully involved, hands-on mums. They also understand and place great value on mother-to-mother recommendation. From the start, they were able to inspire and motivate other women with young children to become involved as agents and ambassadors for Micro Scooters Ltd. This not only helped to spread the word but also established an income stream for these women that fitted seamlessly with their lifestyles as mothers. It’s an approach that remains core to the success of the business and that is being used as the model for international expansion. There are now opportunities in Micro Scooters’ new markets for mothers living there to get involved at the start and help build success both for the company and for themselves as part of the Micro Scooter network. www.micro-scooters.co.uk
I had this great idea < or at least I think I did!
now where’s it gone?
it must still be there somewhere ...
oh well, never mind ...
A Modern Mother talks about how close she came to fame, fortune and never having to do her own laundry again ... © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
A Modern Mother is an American mummy blogger living in the Thames Valley with her Scottish husband and their three young girls … known in her blog as Emily, Alexandra and HM (which is short for High Maintenance or Her Majesty, both of which are apparently very relevant!). In her own words: “I dove into motherhood head first. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had three children in less than three years. Starting a blog was cheaper than therapy, so I created A Modern Mother.“
career and business
The fleeting moment < or just mummy rot? Blog post - 5th March 2009
. This morning an idea popped into my head. It was a fabulous, marvellous, ingenious idea. I thought about it all the way home from school drop off. I started to get excited. Really excited. This idea would change my life. It rolled round and round in my head. Then it started bouncing off the pavement, the houses, the trees, the lamposts and then went back into my head, crystallising, getting clearer, bigger, grander. Yes, this was it. It would change my life, this idea. Why hadn't I thought of it before? My pace quickened. I couldn't wait to put my idea into action.
Ten things you need to know ... before you even contemplate setting up your own business and becoming a mumpreneur!
Then somewhere between sorting out the pile of mail on the landing, clearing up the Cheerios stuck to the pine breakfast table and revelling in the freedom of going to the loo without a child velcroed to my leg, I lost it. It was like fog evaporating on an autumn morning. Gone. Just like that, my grand idea was gone.
Karen Wattleworth, of Zoobookoo, shares the benefits of her experience.
Maybe if I thought hard enough it might come back to me. What was I going to do? Damn. Damn, damn. I can't remember.
It is over ten years since I started dabbling with my business idea. And yet I think I have only just learnt the 10th thing that a mumpreneur should know. Let me save you some time.
Oh well, it musn't have been important. Guess I'll fold the laundry.
A Modern Mother is founder of the following sites: Thames Valley Mums blog London Mums blog Expat Mums blog British Mummy Bloggers
In the beginning < we had just returned to the UK. I was heavily pregnant, our 15-monther was into everything and my job-seeking hubbie was like a bear with a sore head. Finally I despatched him to the garden shed to work out how to make a modern version of an old Victorian puzzle we had often discussed. That was the start of it all! Zoobookoo was born. Momentum really picked up when the boys started primary school. Today we manufacture, distribute and export several quirky, fun, educational products. Our ranges address the concerns and challenges facing parents who want the best for their children (see our products at www.zoobookoo.com).
In my experience, there are ten things a mumpreneur should know to significantly improve her chances of success. These are in addition to all the good business practices of defining a genuine customer need, finding a great product or service and supplying it at the right price, profitably and with excellent customer service. These 10 things are the ‘soft’ but equally important elements (and you will still need a little luck!):
1. Belief and commitment! You must totally believe in your idea. If you doubt it, how can you sell it? Review the concept from many viewpoints and believe in your heart that it really is a great solution and that you can make it work. There is no quick business fix. It takes time to build a business – this is long-haul so you have to able to live with it and you need to be good at it! © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
2. Focus and vision! You need a clear purpose for your business and then you must stay focussed on delivery. Your resources are limited, don’t get side-tracked, remain true to the core business concept (unless you have to change your focus for commercial reasons – then you have a new focus). However, you need to be looking forward, generating new ideas – how can we <.? Put aside time for this once a quarter. No idea is silly – consider everything – but it must tick all the boxes for your business focus.
3. Research! Talk about everything - big and small - with lots of people (ensure confidentiality). Test your concept. Will they buy it? How does it compare to the competition? Nothing is impossible. Deliberately
career and business
think of doing things in other ways. People working with or around you will have great ideas that could save you money, take your idea to a new level or solve a challenging production problem. Brainstorm. Listen. Be exhaustive (a wee glass of wine can help here!).
6. Grit and determination! It is tough out there, whatever you are doing. Your belief and organisational skills will give you confidence. But you have to be brave. Put yourself on the front-line. Deal with customers, prove your concept to be true. Deal with concerns. Mistakes will be made (I have many to my credit!) and you will be gutted. But you have to pick yourself up, plan how to handle it and get it right next time. In my first job I was taught very quickly the difference between an excuse and a reason! A reason is when you tackle something head-on and provide an explanation and ideally a solution; an excuse means you are incompetent! Reasons reap rewards in all areas of the business.
alphabet cube book with first phonics and colour matching
for ages 3-6 years
Build good relationships with everyone (staff / suppliers / customers / postmen / courier drivers <). Spend more time concentrating on the very important relationships. Listen. Try not to rush calls and conversations. If you have been let down or are facing a difficult situation, cool off over night before firing off that email or making that call. Forge long-term and healthy relationships. This is a great investment.
4. Priorities and organisation!
Plans work. Make a plan - refine it, change it but work with the plan. Assign deadlines and responsibilities in writing (particularly if it is for you!). File everything so you can lay your hands on it immediately. Plan your time, your whole day. Have a detailed contacts list. Run a to-do book - everything goes in the book. Review it at the start of every morning. Then in the evening plan what you are going to do tomorrow. This is a military operation! And your memory is not what it used to be!
We all need one and I think mumpreneurs should have several. I am hugely lucky to have my husband. He has taught me so much. Ideally try to find support from someone who understands running a business; then perhaps someone else to bounce ideas off; and a friend to chat with when you’re down or overwhelmed. A different perspective can be inspirational and invaluable.
5. Weaknesses! We all have them, and we can all justify them: I rush in (the excitement of it all bowls me over); I am nervous about spending serious money (that’s the Scot in me!); I am not good at delegating (that’s me the multi-tasker!); I can’t sit still for two minutes (just like my Dad). Identify and deal with your weaknesses. Write them down and come up with ideas to re-train yourself to behave differently. Try not to get annoyed when someone says, ‘You’re doing it again!’
9. Stress-busting! This is a toughie. Mumpreneurs are often wee whirlwinds, always on the go. Your business tends to consume you. You are the business, the business is you. You are quite naturally consumed by your family too. That doesn’t leave much of you! It is easy to become isolated. I have been on courses and read books because I know I am not good in this area. I now run three times a week (slowly!). My husband and I try to get out together on a regular basis. Some friends suggested a book club ... but there is still a long way to go.
10. Publicity! Recently it was brought to my attention that I have never really pushed the business forward by putting myself about and getting noticed - bit of a shrinking violet. I had never really thought about it like that before. Then I realised that (luckily) my business has been pulled through and grown by our lovely customers, and that I have to get more pro-active. This is an area for improvement for me and this article is the first step. Life is short and there is so much to do. My husband and boys keep saying I work too hard – but I’m having fun – though I have to work on the balance. I think I may have one of the best jobs in the world. I am not a millionaire, but in the team we create and deliver what people need and enjoy. Job satisfaction is huge. I could not imagine doing anything else ... but perhaps we should brainstorm that over a nice chilled bottle of white!
Karen Wattleworth has two sons Bradley (12) and Douglas (11) whom she describes as “sporty, funny and cool”. She is the founder of Zoobookoo International Ltd, a family business that creates fun, educational products for children … inspired by her own kids! Five words to describe me: energetic, enthusiastic, happy
coming soon <
the mummo marketplace so if you’re a mum in business, why not be one of the first to set up your stall?
advertising in the mummo marketplace is deliberately intended to be affordable £5 per month for a standard ad or £10 per month for a premium ad
Things that make me happy: In order - doing stuff with my hubby and the boys (film night, dinner, bike ride, holiday …) – running my business – that great feeling after a 4 mile run (definitely not during) – going on holiday – wine with the girls Vices: wine! Virtues: happiness and perseverance
© Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
If you’re interested, just email email@example.com to reserve a space!
career and business
yum yum yum ...
luxury whisky marmalade pudding
Helen Colley, the mum behind ’Farmhouse Fare’, talks to Mummo about her famous puddings <
What motivated you to go into business for yourself? ‚I’ve always had a passion for cooking, which I think I inherited from my Granny Anderson, who still inspires me today when I’m creating new puddings, and I always knew I wanted to have my own business. In fact it never really occurred to me to work for anyone else!‛ luxury sticky chocolate pudding
Tell us a little bit about what Farmhouse Fare does ... ‚Farmhouse Fare has been a well respected player in the food retail world since 2002, operating from a purpose built manufacturing kitchen on the outskirts of Clitheroe - a rural market town in Lancashire. Our puddings are made with families in mind and are created to suit all moods. For example ,we have the zesty Summer Fruit Pudding for warmer weather and then the comforting Sticky Toffee Pudding - perfect for the winter months! Keeping true to the hand-baked methods, all of Farmhouse Fare’s ingredients could have come straight from your own kitchen cupboard. We use things like quality Belgian chocolate, butter, handsifted flour and golden syrup.‛ How did you get started? ‚I left college in 1984 as a strong-willed 18-year-old full of ideas, so I decided to take the bull by the horns, went to the bank and arranged a £250 loan which I used to set up my own outside catering business. I ran the business from my parent’s farm in Lancashire and began catering for funeral teas, christenings and weddings. The business expanded rapidly and we were very successful - catering for social events all around the country and even for royalty! My family, including my husband and my parents, have also been involved in the business from the very beginning. My parents allowed me to convert farm buildings so that I could run my catering business from them. After foot and mouth hit and I decided to concentrate on the puddings side of the business, my father played a crucial role driving around the county delivering the puddings to Booths supermarkets. My mum has been incredibly supportive and has worked with me through thick and thin - from book keeping and human resources to washing up pudding bowls in the early hours of a morning! My family have played an integral part in the success of Farmhouse Fare, and still support me in so many ways - along with my Great Granny Anderson, my husband and my children help to inspire me to create new puddings.‛
© Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
How did you find your first customers? ‚I was still running the outside catering company when I held a charity coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Nurses in 1999. I’ve always enjoyed making puddings for my own family and I must have been feeling quite nostalgic because I decided to run a stall selling my Sticky Toffee Puddings, the pudding that was my particular favourite as a child. Anyway, the puddings went down a storm, we couldn’t sell them fast enough, and I was literally stampeded by people demanding to know why they couldn’t buy them in the shops. So I approached Booths Supermarkets and the puddings got listed in all of their stores throughout the North West. I couldn’t believe it and I was even more amazed when Sainsbury’s approached us in early 2001 and began listing our puddings. Everything was going great until the foot and mouth crisis hit us in late 2001. When I think back now to how naïve I was when I originally approached Booths it makes me laugh. After the success of the Macmillan Nurses Coffee Morning and managing to sell my puddings in various local butchers and delis, I went along to my local branch of Booths with some puddings and asked the store manager if I could stock my puddings on their shelves! Of course the store manager said no, that’s not the way it works - but was very helpful and gave me the contact details for Booths’ HQ in Preston, telling me I needed to speak to a buyer. I dressed in my best suit and took my puddings to Preston. But, of course, arriving at Booths’ HQ without an appointment meant I was told to go home and make one! I called persistently until I managed get an appointment with the buyer who, on tasting the
career and business
luxury sticky toffee pudding
What have been the highlights so far? ‚The biggest highlight to date is growing the business to the size it is today! We started the business from my parent’s farm in Lancashire and now have custom made premises of 42,000 sq ft - employing 100 staff and producing 80,000 puddings each week. It was a huge step leaving my parent’s farm but it was the best thing we could ever have done for the business. We now supply all of the major supermarkets nationwide including the likes of Booths, Budgens, Costco, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Somerfield, Tesco and Waitrose!‛
puddings, immediately loved them and agreed to stock them. Luckily I didn’t have to approach Sainsbury’s or Morrisons as they came to me, but Tesco was a little different. In 2005 I attended a lecture at the Manchester Business School where Tesco boss, Sir Terry Leahy, was guest speaker. There was the usual question and answer section and I just kept thinking to myself what a great opportunity it was to speak to Sir Terry about my puddings being sold in Tesco.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. from „Don Quixote de la Mancha‟ by Miguel de Cervantes , Spanish author (1547-1616)
‚Make a remark‛, said the Red Queen; ‚it's ridiculous to leave all the conversation to the pudding!‛
Any low points? ‚During the foot and mouth crisis we had a lot of difficulties. As well as the farm, the outside catering business was also badly affected. All of the restrictions meant that social events were cancelled, marquee work dried up and we lost a lot of crucial orders. Things were becoming increasingly difficult and that’s when I decided to concentrate on the puddings side of the business. We already had listings in all of the Booths supermarkets and some Sainsbury’s stores and it quickly became clear that it was the puddings which were going to save the business. So I sold the outside catering arm of the business for a mere £6,000 and began to bake puddings day and night.‛
The lecture theatre was full of suited businessmen asking questions about the state of the market and so on. I from „Alice‟s Adventures in took a deep breath and placed my Wonderland‟ by Lewis Caroll, hand in the air. I don’t know What’s been the best business English author (1832-1898) whether it was luck or the rare sight decision you think you’ve made? of a lady’s hand, but Sir Terry requested my question! So I asked ‚A decision which proved hugely him why Tesco didn’t stock my puddings. beneficial was approaching Business Link in 2002 to get help with expanding the business. I had fantastic Sir Terry was intrigued, asked me some questions support from Tim Bullough, so much in fact that he about my puddings and invited me to send them in became Farmhouse Fare’s Finance Director. Tim was for trial. I sent samples straight to him and received a invaluable when it came to restructuring the company thank you letter in response which still hangs with from its original roots as a small outside catering pride on the wall at Farmhouse Fare - the rest, as they company to what it is today.‛ say, is history!‛
We all know that hindsight is a wonderful thing. What, if anything, would you do differently in retrospect? ‚To be quite honest, I wouldn’t do anything differently - if wrong decisions were made, then we learned from them, and it made us stronger and even more determined‛. Where are you ‘at’ with the business now?
The proof of an idea is not to be sought in the soundness of the man fathering it, but in the soundness of the idea itself. One asks of a pudding, not if the cook who offers it is a good woman, but if the pudding itself is good.
‚I sold Farmhouse Fare to the Daniels Group because it was something I felt I needed to do for the benefit of the brand, although I remain with the company and continue to be closely involved with the brand. After all, the inspiration for Farmhouse Fare and all of these puddings came from my Granny Anderson, so I feel I should continue her legacy by making Farmhouse Fare as great a brand as possible.‛ What are your plans for the future? ‚In terms of what’s next, the future is looking very exciting for puddings! We’ll be concentrating our efforts on the brand range in 2009 - I’ve got some great ideas for new puds.‛ What do you enjoy most about doing what you do? ‚I really enjoy being able to take inspiration from my family in order to create puddings that I know other families throughout the UK will love. For example, I recently created a new dessert - Luxury Jaffa Cake Pudding - to meet the demands of my children who wanted a pudding they felt was especially for them. It’s such a great feeling knowing that families all sit down together to enjoy Farmhouse Fare puddings.‛
Henry Louis Mencken, American journalist (1880-1956)
Life is a pudding full of plums. W S Gilbert, English dramatist (1836-1911)
How do you juggle work and family? ‚Often with difficulty! I would go so far as to say it is sometimes very difficult to ‘juggle’ them at the same time and something has to give. It does help to have a very understanding partner, family and friends.‛ What do your children think of you being in business? ‚They are very proud of me and what I have achieved - and know that I have done it and continue to do it for them, as well as for my own satisfaction.‛
Helen Colley is a farmer‟s daughter, the mother of three children and founder of Farmhouse Fare puddings. My office is ... a small building next to my house, kitted out for the sole purpose of working away at my PC and having meetings - a haven with everything I need My children ... are in various stages of education including further education I relax by ... having a lovely soak in the bath with the door firmly shut! My day ends ... when work or play decides for me.
© Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
career and business
arty mum Showcasing the work of Carolyn Gavin, an artist living in Toronto <
Carolyn Gavin lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and 7-year-old daughter, Lily. She‟s 5‟4”, has curly hair, no tattoos, and a great big English bulldog called Ziggy! She is the founder of a company called Ecojot, which designs, produces and sells a “green and delicious” stationery line, made in Canada from 100% recycled paper. Five words to describe me: happy, busy, creative, searching, antsy Things that make me happy: colour, flowers, kids, animals, great design, environmental awareness Vices: shopping
Favourite book: „The inheritance of loss‟ by Indian author Kiran Desai Favourite music: Amy Winehouse Favourite food: freshly caught fish barbequed
You can see more of Carolynâ€™s work and get great insights into the life of an artist by visiting her two websites: www.ecojot.com
ÂŠ Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
friends and fun
wish you weren’t here
Holidaying with friends: is it the perfect solution < or hell on earth?! You’re having dinner with a group of friends and the subject of holidays comes up. Several glasses of wine in, you all agree that going away together is the perfect solution. You all have children the same age, it’ll cut costs and be more fun. But it doesn’t always work out quite how you imagine it. Arguments can start before you leave. Some people have bigger budgets than others, which makes choosing the holiday destination tricky. Then there’s trying to find a date that suits everyone and the inevitable debates about travel arrangements. Once you’re there, things can get even worse. The children might not get on and suddenly you realise that your parenting style is very different to those of your friends. Arguments or stony silences start about who’s doing which chores and who’s paid for more of the groceries. And then there’s the daily debate about
what to do to keep everyone happy. The result can be a stressful holiday and friendships in need of repair. Sounds fairly nightmarish. But it doesn’t have to be. Holidaying together as a group can result in a fabulous holiday for adults and kids. The trick, according to Wendy Shand, founder of family friendly travel company Tots to Travel, is to plan well and communicate effectively. ‚Even friends or family members you know really well can prove difficult to stay with for any length of time unless you’ve had a good honest discussion before you set off. A bit of planning in advance can make the difference between you all going away together again, or you not speaking to each other for a while!‛ Wendy has these holiday tips when travelling with friends or family:
Setting it up Compatibility: Think about who you want to holiday with before suggesting it and try to choose people with whom you are normally compatible. Try to choose people with children similar in age to your own and similar interests to yours. Any more than three families holidaying together can get logistically difficult so bear that in mind too. Budgets: Ask everyone upfront what their holiday budget is. If the budgets are vastly different, have an honest discussion about what type of holiday everyone is after. If you’re not in agreement, agree to holiday separately. If one family feels that they’re having to stretch themselves financially to fit in, they’ll be resentful of any additional costs on holiday. Equally, a family who is willing to spend far more than the group average might feel that feel that they’re not getting what they really wanted. Research: If you all know where you want to go on holiday or the type of holiday you want, it makes things a lot easier. If you don’t, you need to get together to discuss some of the options. In every group there’ll be those who’ll go with the flow and aren’t too interested in researching holiday destinations, and there’ll be people who like to be in control and who enjoy spending hours surfing the web for holiday ideas. Agree who will do the research – no more than two people. They can then present their favourites to the group for a joint decision. Accommodation: Consider the accommodation options. Staying in a single large house puts the most pressure on you as a group to get on, as there is little opportunity to be alone as a family. But it can be fun, can save on costs and makes looking after children in the evenings easier. A cluster of properties together is a good option as each family has their independence but can still benefit from the close company of their friends. Hotels or resorts can have the same kind of benefits, but you’re likely to spend quite a bit of time trying to find your friends amongst the other guests and it won’t feel quite as personal. Timings: Determine the length of stay. Most people battle to live comfortably with another family for an extended period of time, so try to limit the stay to a week. Alternatively, stay for a fortnight but invite different families for the first and second week. © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
Travel: Decide whether you’re all going to travel together or make your own way there. The latter can be easier as it allows people more flexibility to fit in with their commitments and their departure destinations.
Before you go House rules: Have a chat about house rules. There’s nothing worse than one person constantly doing the washing up or cooking and feeling like they’re the only one doing any chores. But equally, holidays are meant to be for relaxing and no-one wants to spend all of their time doing chores just so that they appear helpful. Agree a rota or a general rule about when dishes will get done or who’s in charge of cooking. It can be fun to agree a set budget for each meal and assign teams to come up with the meal idea – including shopping in the local markets for ingredients and creating a culinary feast. Money pot: Create a kitty. Have every family put in an agreed amount of money to be used for groceries and alcohol. It’s far easier than people feeling as though they’re continually putting their hand in their pocket while others don’t contribute as much. Families can pay for their own extras when they’re out and about. Children: Discuss your children’s routines and your no go areas and try to be consistent. For example, if one family lets their children stay up late in the holidays and another sticks to a 7pm bedtime, have a chat about it before you go. Come to a compromise – perhaps all children getting a slightly later bedtime but not staying up all night with the adults. Similarly, discuss your attitudes to treats and extras. If one family happily gives their children ice cream whenever they ask for it and another family limits them, it will result in arguments and upset children. Also chat about how you all discipline your children so that everyone is consistent. Even people you think are similar in parenting style to you can seem very different when you’re staying with them every day.
Once you’re there Independent activities Have a chat on the first night about the things each of you would like to do on holiday. Some people might just want to lie in the sun, others
friends and fun
might be into activities and sports, while others might want to do sightseeing or shopping. You don’t all have to do everything together all of the time. Agree to take turns looking after the children so that you get a chance to have some ‘me time’ to do the things you want to do. Talk If any problems spring up, the best thing to do is chat about them to clear the air, come up with a solution and move on. Otherwise tensions build and the holiday is far from relaxing. Enjoy it Holidaying with friends is a really great way to spend quality time with people you enjoy. You’ll find that you get to know far more about them, their backgrounds, what’s really going on in their world than you would ordinarily have the time for in regular get-togethers.
Tots to travel has range of properties suitable for friends travelling together, from large mansions in France and Italy with enough space for everyone to have their independence, to clusters of gîtes that accommodate several families in their own properties but with shared outdoor eating facilities, play areas and swimming pools. The properties also come fully equipped with all the kit families need, making it far easier for everyone to travel light. Some properties even provide home cooked meals to cut down on the workload, and babysitting so that you can head out as a group in the evenings. These houses get booked up fast so plan well in advance. And now, to get you in the mood, just look at these ...
Try new things Travelling with other people opens your eyes to new experiences and new ways of doing things. Just because you’ve always done something one way doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it like that. Your children, too, will benefit from trying things they don’t normally do. Go with the flow This is a holiday. Relax and bend the rules a little. You’re all there to have a good time. So remember why you wanted to go on holiday with your friends in the first place and then get on and have fun. www.totstofrance.co.uk www.totstoitaly.co.uk
Wendy Shand set up Tots to France when she had a disastrous holiday in a French villa and realised what parents needed when booking a villa - peace of mind! Five words to describe me: energetic, determined, creative, articulate and familyorientated Motto in life: leave the party before you‟ve had enough (in other words, if something doesn‟t suit you any more, stop doing it before you get fed up!) Favourite food: I love pasta with pesto Favourite film: „Swallows and Amazons‟ Most treasured possession: my husband, kids and cat, but if these don‟t count then it has to be our bed!
a life in photographs Sticky Fingers muses on the making of memories blog post - 10th December 2008
When I was 5 my mother and father sold up everything and went travelling. We packed our worldly possessions into a van towing a caravan and travelled through France, Spain and north Africa. Can you imagine how much fun that would be for a child?
I spent my sixth birthday on a beach in Morocco gathering shells ... I made friends with the locals wherever we laid our hat and I was 'home' schooled for a year. On my return to school back in the UK, I was way ahead of my contemporaries. ÂŠ Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
You would think that at such a young age I wouldn't be able to recall much of such a fabulous adventure, but my mother had the foresight to help me keep a diary packed with words, pictures, shells and tokens, all serving as little memory joggers that, along with the photographs we took, mean that wonderful snapshot in my life is not just a fog of childish recollections. Now that I have children of my own, I do wonder how much of what they experience will be remembered. Will they remember the love and warmth hubby and I try to lavish on them?
friends and fun
I am a keen photographer. I photograph everything, every event, every walk in the park, every little moment in our busy lives. I hope it will help serve as little reminders to my two about the time they had chickenpox and we had to play games every day for two weeks because we were confined to the house.
Will they remember the games we play in the garden or the picnics in the woods? Will they remember camping trips, holidays, friends?
Or the first time Dan rode a horse, or daddy taught him to play golf, or the day he 'married' Heather. Or the time daddy built their playhouse in the garden, in the pouring rain because were so excited about see it up. Or the day Mia cut her own hair.
Or will they remember us shouting at all the fighting at all the mess or at the time they emptied the contents of a beanbag over grandma's carpet? My earliest memory is of visiting my brother in hospital when he was born, so I would have been nearly 3. But most of my memories come from photographs that, I am thankful to say, has been a big part of my family's life. And now I am in the process of creating memories that will still be with my children 30 or 40 years from now. It's a wonderful, yet unnerving thought. Will they remember my many mistakes or will they just remember how much they were loved and adored by two busy, distracted parents?
Or the midwife who delivered both my babies (nearly 3 years apart) purely by accident because it just happened to be her shift. Or the joyous Christmases when they were surrounded by love and we couldn't believe our luck that we had such a happy, healthy family. I even photograph the sad times - the tears, the tantrums, the fall outs - because they are all part of our history too and I don't want them to believe their early years were pain free. And so I wonder, do you ever think about what memories you are making for future generations? Do you photograph events or do you just chalk it up to memory.
More from Sticky Fingers an insight into the world of a blogging mum ... Vices: Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. But I don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't spend hours shopping, so I figure I'm allowed. Motto in life: Treat others as you wish to be treated. I try to really live that message so my children see it in action and, hopefully, will take it up too. Favourite film: One? Are you kidding? I am a total movie junkie! Most treasured possession: My wedding ring. My husband is my childhood sweetheart (we were at school together) and we have been together for - gulp - nearly 18 years now. Weâ€&#x;ve had plenty of highs and lows, but he's a keeper! My children: Iâ€&#x;ve got two children, one boy (6) and one girl (3). Daniel is such a sweet natured little man. He's a really mummy's boy and so empathetic and considerate. He's just starting to get a bit cheeky and pushing the boundaries a little, but he does it in such an adorable way it's hard not to just smile. As a newborn he was a model baby - slept, fed and grew like a dream and 'discipline' consisted of sitting him down and talking. He listened, he took it in, he stopped doing it. I know! Mia is the total opposite. She is outgoing, feisty, independent and a real challenge. We didn't know what had hit us when she came along! She is really naughty at times and really pushes us, but just the cutest little tomboy and ADORES her big brother. A day in my life ... My day starts at 7am when the children jump on me in bed to wake me up. We have breakfast, get ready then have a leisurely drive to school (we couldn't get into any of the local schools, grrr). But we do park a distance away and walk the rest of the way. Then I drive Mia to her preschool nursery where I spend AGES while she faffs around sorting herself out! Then I drive home, put my slippers on and start work in my fancy office! I left my hectic job as features editor on a regional newspaper in November and set up in business on my own and it's the best thing I've ever done. Now I get to go for a walk in the sunshine at lunchtime, get my head down and work and pick my children up without the stress of worrying whether there has been a hold-up on the motorway, or how long I'll get to see them before I have to start getting them ready for bed. I pick them up at about 5pm (Dan is in after-school club and loves it because he gets to play cricket and tennis and chess (!) with older children) and we come home and have tea together. Bedtime is great because they get on so well they just trot up to bed and entertain each other while they brush teeth/ wash etc. Two stories (or Dan reads to us) and that's it. Seriously, these kids are good. Hubby and I then watch TV or (stop groaning) play on the Wii or sometimes we both still have work to do so we sit in our little office and work! Before bedtime we always have a cup of tea, I have no idea where that habit came from, and fall into bed. Sticky Fingers
ÂŠ Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
friends and fun
teatime tarts Mummo showcases some stunning stationery ... Tea-Time-Tarts Designs is the brainchild of long-term friends Hazel Fernandes and Catriona Andrews. Whilst sitting on a beach together one day, watching the world go by, they decided to start a range of drawings that celebrated women and their fascination with love, life and fashion. They use their own lives, and the lives of their friends, as inspirations for a range of quirky, whimsical greetings cards and stationery. Their love of cakes, coffee (and occasionally wine) regularly appear in their illustrations!
Hazel Fernandes is one half of the Tea Time Tarts, and the half that‟s a mum - her experience of motherhood, and the antics of her children, have provided plenty of inspiration for the range! She lives with her husband and two little girls. Her background in textile design, together with Catriona‟s in illustration, combine to create an exciting and unique style. Five words to describe me: busy, grumpy, creative, obsessive, kind Things that make me happy: salsa and tango dancing, my girls, shoes, dinner with my hubby Vices: weakness for chocolate
Virtues: hmmm, need to think on that!
Motto in life: If it doesn‟t get done, put it on tomorrow‟s „to do‟ list and forget about it!
© Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
friends and fun
More from Hazel … My children: I have two gorgeous girls, Tia Lottie (5 and a half) and Sophie Charlie Rose (2 years 9 months). Tia is an angel with selective hearing, sweet, kind, sensitive and beautiful. Sophie is a cute but naughty little minx - soooo funny, tomboyish, loud and runs riot! A day in my life … My day starts at 6.45am when one or both of the girls climb in my bed and we have cuddles - it‟s my favourite time of the morning and it all goes downhill from there. Breakfast and what follows is usually me speaking in parrot fashion in increasing volume … get your pants on … GET your PANTS on … GET YOUR PANTS ON ……. eat your breakfast … eat your …etc, etc. all the while trying to decide what to wear for the all-important school run until we fall out of the house at 8.30, more like 8.35, and then ... The School run: this is normally very nice, we walk to school, some times making up a 10min story about the fairies who live in our house, and their antics with our bubble bath. On the way back I do a lot of stopping-to-chat to other mums, sometimes relieved that I don‟t look the most harassed. Tia is at school now and Sophie goes to nursery 3 days a week when I work. The days I don‟t work I take her to Tumble Tots ,Tesco and occasionally town - she does get a lot of varied and educational outings! I start work usually by 9.20am. My office is at the top of the house, usually obsessively tidy unless I‟m doing artwork when it can look as if someone has tipped the recycling all over the floor (I call it organised mess). I have salsa music blaring and occasionally get up to practise a few spins to break up the monotony of staring at a computer screen. I also have a good vantage point and can spy on the events of the street from up here. Lunch depends on whether there are any appealing leftovers from the night before. My lovely husband is a great cook. If yes, I‟ll grab that, if not I‟ll have whatever - cereal / chocci biscuits or fruit and yoghurt. If I‟m busy busy, I may not have anything until after picking up the girls in the afternoon. I generally work madly - checking my emails, a quick look on Facebook (to organise my social life), research on Google, email banter with my business partner up in Scotland (who brightens up my day by sending me „hottie of the day‟ emails) and then sticking some ducks in a row soon takes me to 3pm when is ARRRGh!-Gotta-fly! time again. The tea - bath - bedtime routine is chaos as usual. There will be tears from at least one of us (although it is getting better) and the girls are usually in bed by 7. Tia‟s asleep by 7.02 but Sophie gets us to take her for a wee (that gets stuck) 3 or 4 times, and then yells nursery rhymes down the monitor, sometimes until 8. Since I have a ludicriously short work day, I‟ve found I am very efficient when I want to be, either that or the Boss (... now that would be … let‟s see … oh yes - me …) is very lenient task master. I do plan to catch up with work in the evenings, but a large glass of wine is known to thwart that plan, unless I‟m designing something that I‟m very into, and then I may do some more collaging of ducks into rows! I actually now have a very sociable life, since starting salsa lessons two years ago. Monday we have a night in (I love it - Heroes is on telly) or sometimes call our baby sitter (God love Gemma!!!) and go out for a drink. Tuesdays is my new Tango class, Weds my night in with Resh (after taking the girls to gymnastics, I‟m shattered anyway) , Thurs, I go to salsa and have a late night dancing and feeling like I‟m not JUST a mum! Friday I‟m exhausted, tired and grumpy and I need a very large glass of wine.
mums join together One of the most powerful features of Mummo is the ability to set up groups < When I first had the idea for Mummo (a scarily long time ago now!) part of what I wanted to do was create a way for mums to ‘find’ and communicate with each other. It struck me that women, and perhaps mums in particular, are generally great at supporting each other and coming up with interesting, innovative yet practical ways to get things done. I wondered what would happen if we could more easily track down and connect with the kind of other mums we needed, whether we were looking for mums in the same area, mums with the same sense of humour, mums with the same passion for salsa or mums with a certain set of skills. I also knew, from my own experience in my own town, that a ’virtual’ community of local mums could be a phenomenally powerful thing < and I saw Mummo as a way of enabling this to happen all over the country. A Mummo group is an ideal way to get together with other mums over some common ground. You can share 'insider' info, ideas and advice. You can organise community initiatives or plan a campaign for change. You can contribute to a group blog and, soon, you'll be able to place classified ads so that you can buy, sell and trade within your groups. And, of course, you'll also get to know each other and, more than likely, become good friends. All without leaving the house. And all for free! © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead, American anthropologist (1901-1978)
Want to set up a group?
join Mummo first of all and sign in click on ‘groups’ in the left-hand navigation click on ‘new group’ in the pink header panel or right-hand column fill in the form and save - that’s it! 61
community and contribution
The ‘million mums’ campaign calls on mums around the world to help make motherhood safe < One of my close friends is expecting her second baby any day now. I texted her last night to see if there was any news. I received this message back: ‚No, nothing happening yet, but we’re all pretty excited now.‛ That one short text sums up for me the difference between pregnancy and childbirth here, in the UK, and in the developing world. Here, for most of us, pregnancy is a time of promise and anticipation, culminating in celebration when our precious little one finally arrives. Okay, so that may not be exactly
how it is for everyone but, regardless of individual circumstances, as a society we don’t tend to see having a baby as having one foot in the grave! And yet, for women in many countries, that is the stark reality <
pregnancy and childbirth are the biggest killers of young women of reproductive age in the world today more than half a million women die each year due to pregnancy and birth-related complications, leaving an estimated two million children motherless at least 80% of these deaths are preventable
Imagine this < Imagine going into labour and saying goodbye to your husband or partner, and your other children, knowing that the chances are you may never see them again < In Niger, a woman’s lifetime risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 7. Here in the UK, it’s more like 1 in 8,000.
a woman dies every single minute of every single day due to pregnancy or birthrelated complications
Imagine going into labour and having to walk to the nearest hospital < In the developing world, women in the throes of labour often have to walk miles and miles, across rough terrain, in the heat of day or cold of night, to get to any kind of medical support ... Imagine going into labour and not being allowed to go to hospital < In some cultures, women are prevented from seeking medical care because it’s too expensive or because of the risk that they will be seen by other men. Imagine going into labour and being left alone, for days, to deliver your baby by yourself <
white ribbon = hope
Half of the world’s women give birth at home, alone or with only an untrained friend or relative to help. Imagine what would happen if things went wrong and there was no-one who could help < More than half a million women die each year due to pregnancy and birth-related complications. Millions of others are left with horrific damage - like obstetric fistulas - which often results in them being ostracised from their own communities. Of course, the women are only half the story. Often their babies die too. If they survive, their chances of living beyond two years are massively reduced without a mother. Any older children also suffer hugely. They, too, are more likely to die. They are also far more likely to suffer from malnutrition and stunted growth, and far less likely to get immunised or educated. The implications for girls tend to be even greater, leading to a continued cycle of poverty and poor health. © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
community and contribution
Siti’s story < Siti is an Indonesian woman who died eight years ago after giving birth to her sixth child. Like most women from her village, she worked very hard even while pregnant. She awoke before the sun rose each morning and did her household duties until her husband's eyes closed late in the evening. She cooked all the meals, but she did not eat with her family. Instead, she ate after everyone had eaten their fill, which often meant that she did not get enough food for herself. She developed iron deficiency anaemia and did not receive any antenatal care. Because she had gone through pregnancy and given birth without complications five times before, her sixth pregnancy was not viewed any differently. Although there was a trained midwife who lived in a nearby village, Siti's family decided to ask the wellknown traditional birth attendant in their village to assist with the birth. When Siti went into labour, complications arose and she suffered from postpartum haemorrhage. The decision makers of the family were not home at the time, and Siti was not brought to a health care facility until two hours later. Siti died due to delays in seeking care, reaching care, and receiving care, like so many women do in Indonesia.
It’s a tragedy The statistics on maternal mortality are nothing less than tragic. Not just for the women whose lives are needlessly cut short. Not just for the families left bereft by the loss of their wives, mothers, daughters and sisters. No, ultimately, this is a tragedy on a bigger scale - for the communities, cultures and economies of many countries in the developing world. Mothers play a vital role in the economic health of their families and communities. Women are the sole earners for more than 25% of all households. Their income is more likely than men’s to go on food, education, medicines and family needs. Each year an estimated US $15.5 billion in potential productivity is lost when mothers and newborns die. In addition, when problems arise in childbirth, families often end up spending money on medical interventions that come too late and that they cannot afford. Communities must then take on the burden of caring for the bereaved and impoverished family, and governments are forced to manage the widespread effects of this cycle of poverty.
So what can we do to help? As mothers, there is a huge amount we can do to change this situation, especially if we come together and harness our collective power. That’s the idea behind the ‘million mums’ campaign ...
This fabric panel forms part of an exhibition called ’Promises to Mothers Lost’, organised by the White Ribbon Alliance to commemorate women who have died needlessly in pregnancy or childbirth. It is dedicated to Siti Nurjanah Binti Erna by Aliansi Pita Putih Indonesia (Indonesia White Ribbon Alliance).
Add your voice Just go to the website www.millionmums.org and provide your details. You only need to give your name and an email address and you’ll have added your voice to the campaign. There has been no improvement in maternal mortality statistics for over twenty years, despite the fact that we know what needs to be done and we know how to do it. Why no change? Well, it seems that women are still a very long way from achieving equality. They simply do not have the same rights as men. Their lives, apparently, are less important. We need to put pressure on the governments of the world and call for them to take action. Mums matter.
Donate some money Just go to the website www.millionmums.org, with your credit or debit card in hand, and give whatever you can afford. If a million people gave just a pound each, that would make a truly massive difference. And, of course, the more money you give, the more lives we’ll be able to help save. In the developing world, it doesn’t take much - just £10 will pay for an emergency Caesarean section when a woman gets into difficulty in labour. S
What is ‘million mums’? ‘million mums’ is a new campaign that aims to tackle the challenge of maternal mortality. It’s being driven by the White Ribbon Alliance, in partnership with Mummo, and will run from Mothers’ Day 2009 to Mothers’ Day 2010.
Spread the word
The campaign has two simple goals:
As mothers, we know only too well how much mums matter. For most of us, the experience of becoming a mum strips us of any complacency or arrogance we might have had and leaves us humble, exposed and vulnerable. Suddenly, we’re excruciatingly aware of how much we’ve got to lose. And we instantly discover the unspoken bond between mothers, the bond of understanding. There may be a thousand other differences between our lives, but one thing binds us together. We’re mothers, we love our children, and we will do anything to protect them. So please join ‘million mums’ ...
to bring together a
voices to speak out against the needless deaths of women in pregnancy and childbirth to raise a million pounds to help the White Ribbon Alliance to make motherhood safe
© Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
Tell every mum you know. All of them. Send them the link to this magazine or just the link to the website www.millionmums.org.
look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves (allegedly!)
Gemma Johnson, founder of BaBeeCard, offers some handy money-saving tips
Gemma Johnson is the co-founder of BaBeeCard which is a prepaid MasterCard for mums and mums-to-be. It enables the cardholder to save money with amazing discounts such as 5% at ASDA and Sainsbury‟s (including Sainsbury‟s petrol), 8% at John Lewis, Ocado, Argos and Boots, plus many other high street retailers. You can reduce your weekly and monthly outgoings on groceries, petrol, baby products and everyday living essentials, simply by changing the way you pay for the goods rather than changing your lifestyle. Gemma‟s top ten money saving tips are taken from her Mums Money Tips Blog.
Check your benefits
Claim everything to which you’re entitled: Check out Entitled To, to check your tax credits and other benefits Maternity Allowance / Statutory Maternity Pay Childcare vouchers - check out how they work at HMRC Healthy Start vouchers - £3 per week of vouchers for each child for milk, fresh fruit and veg £190 mum2be government grant for you to spend on anything you like - yes, even chocolate and shoes ;-)
2. Make your own cleaning products White vinegar dissolves dirt , soap scum and hard water deposits. It cleans everything from floors to countertops. It’s even gentle enough for hard floors and the smell disappears when dry so your home won’t smell like a salad. Cleaning solution (mix in a sprayer bottle) 1 cup white vinegar 1 cup water
Plan your packed lunches around your leftover evening meals and store-cupboard staples. You can also download my packed lunch recipe sheet here.
5. Trade in your old mobile
Undiluted white vinegar Great for hard water and scum Use for scrubbing the inside of the toilet bowl Baking Soda is mildly abrasive and a natural deodorizer. It’s great for grimy bathtubs - sprinkle some on a damp sponge. It’s also good for removing food deposits from the sink
Sucker for a new phone? Then make sure you trade in your old unused handsets - not only can it make you some extra cash on the side, it can also help to declutter your electronics pile. Take a look at the companies below and simply send off your phone and wait for your cheque; Fonebank Mazuma Mobile Envirofone
Furniture Polish Recipe (mix in a sprayer bottle) 1 cup olive oil 1/2 cup lemon juice Lemon cuts through grime and the oil will give the wood a nice shine.
3. Budget and plan your weekly shop, love your leftovers and exercise portion control Use a weekly planner or make your own to keep on top of your shopping list and meals. BOGOF (buy one get one free) doesn’t necessarily mean it will save you money - only buy these items if you know you will use them. Remember, a bargain is only a bargain if you actually need it! Check out www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for some fantastic leftover recipes and a portion calculator. Organise your kitchen cupboards so you can see at a glance what you are running out of. Buy seasonal & loose fruit and veg - make sure you don’t buy too much as, unless your family are fruit fanatics, it will end up rotting and being thrown out.
4. The working mum’s packed lunch © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
There’s a new craze in town and it’s known as Al’ Desko’ - yep, you got it, eating a packed lunch at your desk. ‚Goodbye‛ to soggy ham, cheese & tomato sandwiches from the supermarket and ‚hello‛ to homemade humous and roasted veg tortilla wrap!
There is also a charity called Stepping Stones Nigeria that helps abandoned children. You can send your old phones as an alternative way to donate. I think other charities probably do the same.
6. Join a toy library, make new friends 7. Swap your books - don’t buy If you’re a bookworm, you need to join the library if you haven’t done so already. If you’ve got a full bookcase at home then why not swap your unwanted books online for ones you haven’t read. These sites are free to join: ReadItSwapIt BookHopper Title Trader Swapitshop
8. Cancel memberships and subscriptions you don’t use Are you actually going to the gym each week? Do you watch all the Sky channels? Are you really using all your minutes on your mobile tariff? Go through your direct debits and monthly outgoings and ditch anything you are not getting maximum usage from.
9. Give up the unhealthy habits and swap for an occasional treat Any naughty habits you need an excuse to get rid of? Smoker? Junk food / takeaways / ready meals? Perhaps it’s the bottle of wine in the evening with a meal? The credit crunch is giving people motivation to sort out their finances, use this challenging time to get your health and finances in order. Giving up smoking or takeaways, for example, will save you money each week that could afford you a small treat for yourself or the kids, like a fortnightly cinema trip (don’t forget to take your own sweets and drinks) or a monthly massage for you.
10. Enjoy life and believe that it will provide you all that you need I am a big believer in what is meant to be, will be. Start making small changes today, making way for bigger and better things in the future. Don’t focus on cutting back as a negative, think of it as a way to take stock and be grateful for all that you have today. It’s the little things like ‘me’ time, a healthy family, love, laughter and getting back to nature, that will help you keep the good feelings flowing.
Party like it’s £19.99! Lessons in Nixdminx economics < Miniminx has lots of kids coming over for her birthday next Sunday. Things are different this year; with the job loss, credit crunch, and even Woollies gone to the dogs, I’ve put aside posh party planning in favour of a pot luck party on a shoestring budget of £19.99. Armed with glue gun, scissors, a dusty old craft box and my laptop, I’m sure this will be an adventure in thrift like no other. Being the complete jam tart that I am, I’ve scoured the internet in search of party plagiarisms so you don’t have to. My top 5 tips are:
1. Hearty party hats Mummy blogger Nixdminx says the following about herself and her blog (see next column)… “I’m a bonafide Londoner who has worked in communications for a long time. My work has taken me to exciting places, introduced me to fascinating people and kept me and my Miniminx pretty well looked after. But that all changed rather drastically when in December 2008 I was credit crunched. I’ve been trying to find a job ever since but it’s hell out there. I set up this blog in November 2008 as a way of staying sane in these crazy times and also to diarise the trials and travails of this particular single mum trying to find work in a world gone mad. It’s turned out to be great fun and it’s a great way to while away the hours while the phone doesn’t ring.”
I made these fab hats - see pic below - and they’ve passed the ‘cool with the kids’ test. I got this idea from jail bird home-maker-extraordinaire Martha Stewart. They cost me £2.10 to make 9 (6m of haberdasher’s hat elastic).
2. Credit crunch lucky dip This is very enjoyable< You can erase your money worries and get happy by shredding bank statements, credit card bills and final demands. Please try this at home, it’s exhilarating (but please don’t if you’re in Public Office). Stuff the shreddings into a large box (decorate with wrapping paper) to create your own Cathartic Lucky Dip. Wrap up all the ‘already-got-one-ofthose’ gifts from bygone years in free newssheets and you’ve got yourself a welcome party diversion that should last a good 30 minutes < and it doesn’t cost a thing.
them each a set of three clues to help them find the treasure. The first clue will take them to a hiding place with the second clue and so on until they find the treasure (penny sweets wrapped in gold tissue paper). If you’re a particularly mean parent and have a big garden, the possibilities are endless and you could create around 10 or more clues. Warning: Don’t even think of preparing this after more than a glass of wine, it could end up nonsensical. Believe me, I’ve tried.
4. The delegation celebration cake A couple of years ago, Miniminx had four friends sleep over the night before her birthday party. Ironically, it was two boys who stayed up to make her cake with me while she elected to watch videos. I said she could decorate the cake in the morning. When I awoke the next day and headed to the kitchen ready to get icing, I let out the loudest scream ever heard down our street. A rat infestation would have left me less shaken - she’d got up extra early with her friend and decorated the cake. It was ghastly with a big G. Knowing that this was so much fun, I’m now using this to my advantage and this year, they’re under obligation do it again. It’s going to save me hours of piddling around with icing, colouring and decorations.
5. Hope and charity party bags I’ve got loads of wrapping tissue left over from moving house and I’m going to make some simple party bags by hand stitching a few sheets together. With Miniminx’s blessing (she’s only half way to giving it) we’re going to go through her old magazines and cut out pictures of Zac, the Jonas Brothers, etc, and glue them on < I’m not quite sure what to put in them yet but the maximum budget will be £5 < for the lot! That leaves me with £12.79 to spend on food ...
3. Tuppenny treasure hunt Kids love nothing more than having a good rummage around other people’s houses so they’ll enjoy this one. It’ll keep the little blighters busy while the mums gossip and quaff cocktails. Using the old ‘keep it simple stupid’ principle, create a simple treasure hunt. Pair off the kids and give © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
Oh, and we’ll be having a minute of silence for Woolworths!
Nixdminx - blog post - 22nd February 2009 69
living your dreams
more to life than laundry
Mum of two and founder of Peekaboo Communications, Melissa Talago is off on an adventure ...
So I decided that 2009 was the year that I was going to make time for me. I wasn’t sure how. But I knew it was going to be more than the occasional spa day.
Do you ever wonder when you’ll be able to hop off the hamster wheel, ignore the laundry pile and do something just for you? I did.
Then, one Sunday in January, I saw an advert in a newspaper for the Clipper Round the World yacht race. I showed it to my husband and said ‚Wouldn’t it be amazing to do something like that?‛ His reply was: ‚If you want to do it, do it.‛ I laughed it off as an impossibility.
Waking up in January 2009, faced with another year of rushing around after children, doing household chores and running a business, I felt well and truly despondent. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my life, it just seemed like I was living in groundhog day, facing the same dizzying merrygo-round day after day, year after year.
But I couldn’t let go of the idea and, that evening, I sent off for the information pack. I quickly received a reply and, within days, I’d filled out the application form and sent off my deposit. It was crazy. There were so many reasons why I shouldn’t do it <
I felt like I was constantly waiting for something, but I wasn’t sure what.
Firstly, there’s the race itself. This isn’t a yacht race for the faint hearted. The leg I’d applied for was a gruelling 5,300 nautical miles, taking five
weeks to sail from the UK to Brazil. The 68 foot yachts are crewed by 18 people, only one of whom is an experienced sailor. You burn about 5,000 calories a day, work four hours on / four hours off, live in very basic quarters and face everything the ocean can throw at you. Then there’s the emotional side of it. I am the primary minder of our children. I work school hours from home and am there for the boys pretty much round the clock.
Who would be me when I was in the middle of the ocean?
weeks of applying for a place, I headed off for an interview (getting to it was a challenge in itself, with severe snow storms and closed schools!). I got a place and will set sail on 13 September 2009. Until then, I’ve been getting to work on raising funds with various events, setting up a blog to track my progress ( www.moretolifethanlaundry.com), getting in shape, arranging logistics and preparing my children. Thanks to the kindness of my sister-in-law who will help with the children for a while, and the generosity of local mums who are donating their time to help me with my fundraising efforts, not to mention the unfailing support of my husband, it’s all starting to look manageable.
How would I manage not being with my children, given I’ve never been apart from them for more than 48 hours? And how would they manage without me? Was this unfair on them? The guilt kicked in almost immediately and had the biggest potential to derail me. Add to this the logistical problems that I’d face. I have very little family in the country who could help and my husband works in a senior role that takes him abroad a lot. I have a business to run and clients to look after. Who would take care of all the day-to-day things that keep a household running, not only during the five weeks of the race, but during the three to four weeks of training at sea that I’d have to do in preparation for the event? And lastly, there was the small issue of paying for it all. A berth on the race costs £8k. On top of that I have to pay for insurance, a flight home, plenty of sailing gear, a nanny to help at home and staff to manage my business (www.peekaboocoms.co.uk). I would have to raise the berth costs through fundraising and pay for everything else by cutting back on all luxuries – beans on toast for months!
Barking, right? Round about now is when I might ordinarily have walked away from it all. But what is the point of life, if not to live it? Exactly two months since that fateful day when I saw the advert, things are going full steam ahead. Within © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
living your dreams
That said, my stress levels are at an all time high and there’ve been many moments when I’ve questioned my sanity, asking myself ‚Why am I doing this?‛ But here’s why. I hope to show my children that life is there to enjoy, to be a role model for them showing that you can be a good parent and a fulfilled individual. That it’s ok to take on a challenge, to believe in yourself, to do something for yourself, to challenge yourself, to grab opportunities available to you, to have zest for life, to experience things beyond the day-to-day norm - this is what living is all about.
This is what adds the splashes of colour to the painting of your life. To all the other mums out there who are wondering what happened to their old self under the piles of laundry, know that it’s still there. You just need to find it again. No matter how daunting something might seem, if you believe in it, you can do it. Take That, in their beautiful song ‘The Garden’, put it perfectly when they say, ‚This is the life you’ve been given. So open your mind and start living.‛ Hopefully that’s what I’m doing ...
Okay, so we’re not all about to jump on a boat and sail halfway round the world. But it’s worth asking yourself, what would you want to do, if there was nothing to hold you back and you were guaranteed to succeed? What’s your dream? And, whilst you’re mulling that over, why not help support Melissa in her bid to sail 5,300 nautical miles and live her dream. Just go to www.moretolifethanlaundry.com and sponsor her £2 for a mile. Of this, £1 will help cover Melissa’s costs. The other £1 will go the official race charity, the Philip Green Memorial Trust, which helps sick and disabled children all over the UK and overseas.
Melissa Talago is mother to two little boys aged 5 and 3 who, as she puts it, are “typical bouncy, boisterous boys who are more likely to turn a cucumber into a sword than eat it!” Melissa lives in Berkshire with the boys and her husband. She works from home, running her business Peekaboo Communications. Five words to describe me: determined, energetic, enthusiastic, busy, fun Things that make me happy: listening to my children giggle; laughing with my husband; walking on my own in the countryside, especially when it‟s crisp and cold; dancing like a lunatic to loud music (anytime really, but mainly with my kids!) Motto in life: this is your life, so start living!
‚Life is either a daring adventure < or it is nothing‛ Helen Keller
Most treasured possession: our wedding album Favourite smell: Freshly baked bread I relax by: going for a run, or blogging - it‟s a cathartic release to dump my busy thoughts
advertising these adverts have been included in return for the mums who run the businesses helping to spread the word about â€˜million mumsâ€™ and making a donation to the campaign
if you would be interested in taking out a paid advert in any future edition of mummomag, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
ÂŠ Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
thank you Mummo would like to thank all these fantastic people who have helped to make this mummomag possible < (I promise I’ll try not to turn this into an Oscars acceptance speech!) all the mums who‟ve contributed articles, images and blog posts all the mums who, in return for their adverts, are going to contribute to and help spread the word about the „million mums‟ campaign Dani Knapp at Need to Know PR, Jules SomersetWebb at Mothership Public Relations and Melissa Talago at Peekaboo Communications … for being so fab at involving their clients Paul and Ela at Zerofee, for creating a beautiful brand identity for Mummo and for always going above and beyond the whole team at the White Ribbon Alliance, for taking a chance on my idea for „million mums‟ here‟s hoping it‟s a huge success my lovely sister, for designing the front cover even though she had quite enough on her plate already! my mum, because she‟s my mum, because she‟s been on granny duty and because she‟s just been soooo supportive my partner, for looking after the kids and making my tea night after night so that I could do this xx and last, but obviously not least, my children, without whom I wouldn‟t be a mum and I wouldn‟t be doing this - I love you “more than the sun and the moon and the stars” xxxx
thank you © Mummo Ltd : March 2009:
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Mummo is a social enterprise. We want to help make mums happier. Why? Because happy mums make for happy families. Itâ€&#x;s as simple as that.